Early Images of the History of Alpena County, Michigan - William Boulton

Washington Park, Alpena Michigan

Mr. William Boulton was born in England in 1848 and emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1855, later moving to Port Huron, Michigan.

In June 1864, at age sixteen, Mr. Boulton arrived at Alpena, Michigan, then a village of 674 persons, on the steamer FORREST QUEEN, and began working in the mills of the village.

In early 1865, realizing his need for additional education, he returned to Canada, where he entered London Commercial College, graduating Class A., and then he spent two years in Middlesex Seminary at Komoka.

With high recommendations from both institutions he returned to Alpena and settled on a homestead about four miles from the village.

From 1873 until 1880 he printed, in his log home, a 6" X 10"-4 page paper the FROLIC making delivery in the Townships and Village on his bicycle or on foot.

In 1874 he was elected Alpena Township Clerk.

He bought a lot in Broadwell's Addition to the City in 1875 and became associated with the weekly newspaper ARGUS, writing and publishing feature articles dealing with the early history of the Thunder Bay region.

June 2, 1876 he published his first history of Alpena County and in 1895 published a revised and more complete edition.

Mr. Boulton was an ardent photographer and, in July 1893, published a "SOUVENIR" of the City containing many full page pictures of the area.

Most of his 5"x 8"and 5"x 9"glass negatives have been preserved and are a valuable source of historical material of the area.

Mr. Boulton died in Alpena on March 22, 1921 at age seventy-two and was buried from Trinity Episcopal Church with Masonic honors.

Fred R. Trelfa


Early History of Alpena, Michigan.

Alpena County was first laid out in 1840, at which time it was attached to Mackinaw, and remained so until the year 1853.

Alpena was then unsettled and almost uninhabited—the only inhabitants being a few transient fishermen.

It derived its name from an Indian word meaning a "good partridge country."

Among the fishermen present at that time, was W. F. Cuilings, who arrived at Thunder Bay Island about the year 1835.

Mr. Cuilings has resided in the county more or less ever since, and in yet a citizen of Alpena, so that he is fully entitled to the credit of being the first settler.

MR. Cuilings states that the first buadings erected on the site of the present city, were built some three or four years after his arrival by some hunters from Mackinaw, and consisted of three log shanties.

The next building was erected by Walter Scott, and consisted of a fish-house (where Johnson’s warehouse now stands) and a sort of trading post, which was built somewhere near Mr. David Plough's present residence.

Scott's business was to trade with the Indians, his principal commodity being whiskey.

In 1836 Jonathan Birch visited Alpena for the purpose of making arrangements for building a sawmill.

He examined the rapids and finding that there were good facilities for building a dam, commenced getting out timber for the enterprise he had in view.

The Indians, however, objected to the improvement, and drove Mr. Birch away.

Mr. Birch and party went off to Sulphur Island, and, while there, held consultation as to whether it would be the most profitable to put up the mill at Devil river, or go back to Alpena and commence over again, as an Indian chief had assured tbe in of his protection.

Alpena was certainly the best place for lumbering, but then a dam could be built at Devil River with considerably less money than it could at Alpena, and this was a very important consideration to the enterprising mill men.

At last they determined to leave it to chance, so they stuck a stick in the ground, and resolved to commence operations at the point towards which the stick fell.

The stick fell towards Devil River, and, the first mill in the county was built there.

In 1840, Mr. J. W. Paxton landed on Thunder Bay Island, and in 1842 Mr. O. S. Warner paid a visit to the Indians at the mouth of Thunder Bay River, for the purpose of trading with them.

Mr. Paxton engaged extensively in gill-net fishing al>out the year 1856.

Soon after he purchased Sugar inland, and removed his fishing, rig and buildings thereto in 1858.

Mr. Paxton has remained a settler ever since, and was the first to make gillnet fishing a regular business.

Fishing prior to that time had been carried on by means of six or eight nets in a gang, and small, sprit-sail boats.

There was a light-house on Thunder Bay Island at the time of Mr. Paxton's arrival, but it was not the present magnificent structure, built in 1857.

In 1853 the county of Alpena was attached to the county of Chebovgan, and remained so until 1857, when Alpena was organized as a separate county.

Mr. Daniel Carter arrived in Alpena, November 26th, 1856.

He was looking after Mr. Geo. N. Fletcher's interests, and when he had accomplished his mission, he started for Thunder Bay Island, intending to take the first steamboat that passed that place and go in low, as this was the only direct communication between Alpena and the lower ports at the time.

When he arrived at the island, he found Mr. Geo. N. Fletcher, Mr. J. S. Minor, Mr. J. K. Lockwood, Mr. E. A. Breckenridge, and another gentlemen.

These gentlemen were on their way to Alpena for the purpose of locating and surveying the place, and, also, to look after the valuable property they had acquired in that part of the country.

At this time the Fremont election fever was running very strong, and as Messrs. Fletcher, Lockwood, and Breckenridge were Republicans, they, of course, were strong Fremont men, and so they had brought up with them a Fremont election flag.

Messrs. Minor and Oldfield were neutral, and Mr. Carter, a strong Democrat.

As soon as the party had landed at the little clearing near the mouth of the river, they commenced making preparations for raiding their Fremont flag.

They cut a good-sized cedar pole, nailed the flag to the top end of it, and then endeavored to raise the flagstaff and plant it in the ground so that the emblem of their political faith might wave defiantly above the newly named village of Fremont.

The flagstaff was not very heavy, and, if it hadn't been election time, the party of Fremonters could easily have set it upright; but, somehow or other being affected by the water they bad imbibed, they were unable to manage, so they requested Mr. Carter, who, during this time had been looking on, to help them.

Mr. Carter being a strong Democrat refused, declaring, "that he wasn't going to help them to raise a Fremont flag," and, going a little way from the party, sat down and watched the performance.

Several times the Fremonters succeeded in nearly raising the pole, getting it almost tip only to have it tumble down again, but they were determined to succeed, and after several futile attempts, the Fremont flag waved proudly above their heads.

This was the first introduction of politics into Alpena.

After the party had rested a little, they proceeded to survey the village of Fremont, but so jubilant were they with their political success, that instead of commencing at the section corner, they started from the first place that suited them, and laid out the street now known as River street.

When they had surveyed the street a short distance, they found it would interfere with the mill privileges on the south side of the river, so they made a short turn, near the present site of Golling's brick block, and then proceeded with the survey.

This was the commencement of the first survey of Alpena, and the greater part of what they surveyed was covered with green woods.

Sometime after the events just narrated, the settlers began to be much annoyed by the noisy howling’s of the Indians who were camped on the north side of the river.

Walter Scott, the trader, had considerable whisky in his shanty, which he used to give the Indians in payment for their furs, etc., and as long as the Indians were able to purchase it, they kept up a constant pow-wow, bowling, whooping, and raising "cain" generally.

At last the settlers determined to put an end to the cause of the disagreeable annoyance, and so one night Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Trowbridge went over to Scott's store house and finding no one in it, proceeded to bore holes in the whisky barrels and let the liquor run out.

There was considerable disturbance next morning when the Indians came over to get their morning bitters, and Scott found his whisky all gone; but the damage could not easily be repaired, for communication with the lower ports was very uncertain, and by the time another supply of fire-water could have been received, the Indians would have been on their way to Mackinaw to receive their annual gifts from the government.

Scott, after threatening to set the Indians on the settlers, declared, "that the place (containing less than a dozen white persons) was too thickly settled to suit him”, and so he left.

Thus ended the first whisky struggle in Alpena - the second had a far worse ending.

Mr. A. F. Fletcher arrived in Alpena in August, 1857, and Mr. J. K. Miller in September of the same year.

During the summer of 1.857, Mr. Carter built a small house on River Street.

This was the first regular residence erected, as the preceding ones where only temporary structures.

In 1857 Alpena County was organized into a separate county by the following act of Legislature:

An ACT to organize the county of Alpena, and locate the county seat thereof.

Suction 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, that the county of Alpena shall be organized, and the Inhabitants thereof entitled to all the rights and privileges to which, by law, the inhabitants of other organized counties of this State are entitled.

Sec 2. The county seat of said county is hereby established at the village of Fremont, at the mouth of Thunder Bay river, in said county: Provided, That the proprietors of lands therein shall convey to said county, for the exclusive use thereof, for county huildh.gs and county purposes, free of all charge, the following described lots, to wit: two entire blocks, each twenty-four rods square, lying between Eighth and Ninth streets, and River and Lockwood streets, in the village of Fremont, as surveyed by E. A. Breckenridge, Esq., in the year (1866) eighteen hundred and fifty-six, on section (22) twenty-two, in town (31) thirty-one north of range (8) eight east, In said county.

Sec. 3. There shall be elected in said county of Alpena, on the first Tuesday of November, (1857) eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, all the several county officers to which, by law, the said county is entitled; and said election shall in all respects be conducted and held in the manner prescribed by law for holding elections for county and State officers: Provided, That the county officers so to be elected shall be qualified, and enter upon the duties of their respective offices, on the first (1) Monday of January (1858) eighteen hundred and fifty-eight, and whose term of office will expire at the time prescribed by the general law.

Sec 4. The board of canvassers of said county, under this act, shall consist of the presiding inspectors of elections from each township therein; and said inspectors shall meet at said village of Fremont, on the first Tuesday after the election, and organize by appointing one of their number chairman, and another secretary, of said board, and shall thereupon proceed to discharge all the duties of a board of county canvassers, as in other cases of election for county or State officers.

Sec 5. The sheriff and county clerk, elected by the provisions of this act, shall designate a suitable place in the village of Fremont for holding the circuit court in said county, and also suitable places for the several county offices, as near as practicable to the place designated fur holding the circuit court; and they shall make and subscribe a certificate in writing, describing the several places thus designated, which certificate shall be filed and preserved by the county clerk; and thereafter the places thus designated shall be the places of holding the circuit court and the county offices, until the board of supervisors provide suitable accommodations for said court and county officers.

Sec 6. The counties of Alcona, Oscola, Montmorency, and that portion of the county of Presque Isle lying east of range four east, be and the same are hereby attached to said county of Alpena for judicial and municipal purposes.

Sec. 7. All acts, and parts of acts, contravening the provisions of this act, be and the same are hereby repealed.

Approved February 7,1857.

As Alpena County was not divided into townships it was impossible to elect a board of canvassers as provided for in section four, so the Legislature, during the same session of 1857-58, passed the following amendment to section four of the above act:

AN ACT to amend an act to organize the county of Alpena, and locate the county seat fftereof.

Section 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, that this act shall stand in lieu of section (4) four of said act, and that Daniel Carter, Harvey Harwood. and D. D. Oliver, are hereby made and constituted a board of canvassers, who shall act as inspectors of election; and said inspectors shall meet at said village of Fremont on the first Tuesday after the election, and appoint one of their number chairman and another secretary of said board, and shall thereupon proceed to discharge all the duties of a board of county canvassers, as in other cases of election for county and State officers, and shall have the power to act as a board of supervisors in and for said county, for the organization of townships therein, and for other purposes, and shall hold their offices until there be three organized townships in said county, and until other supervisors are elected and qualified: And provided.

That from any cause a vacancy occurs in said board before any township is organized, the two remaining members of the board shall appoint; but if there be one or more townships organized, and supervisors elected, the vacancy shall be filled by said supervisor or supervisors.

The compensation of said board shall be the same as that received by supervisors elected according to law.

All acts, and parts of acts, contravening the provisions of this act, be and the same are hereby repealed.

This act is ordered to take immediate effect.

Approved February 14, 1857.

From the above acts of Legislature we find that the first board of supervisors of Alpena county was formed by special act, the members being Daniel Carter, Harvey Harwood, and D. D. Oliver, the first and last being well known to our citizens; that Alpena was then known as the village of Fremont; that the county was not divided into townships, and that the first election in the county of Alpena was ordered on the first Tuesday of November, 1857.

The act also provided that the county officers should enter upon their respective duties on the first Monday of January 1858.

The first act of the new board of supervisors was to establish the township of Fremont.

It comprised the whole of the present county Of Alpena, and soon after its formation the first election as provided for by law, took place.

The official record of the election reads as follows:

In pursuance of notice for the first township election, posted according to law, in the township of Fremont, in the county of Alpena and State of Michigan, held on the fourth day of January 1858.

Present —David D. Oliver, Joseph K. Miller, and Daniel Carter, the board of inspectors appointed by the supervisors to hold said election.

Choose David D. Oliver, chairman of said board, and Joseph K. Miller, secretary; appointed Addison Fletcher, clerk also choose Isaac Wilson to officiate as constable for said election.

Polls were opened and the following persons were elected to several township offices, as follows:

Supervisor—James S. Irwin.

Town Treasurer—Daniel Carter.

Town Clerk—Addison Fletcher.

Highway Commissioners—-Daniel Carter. D. D. Oliver, and Jas. Thomas.

Justice of Peace—Russel R. Woodruff, David D. Oliver, Lewis Atkins, and Isaac Wilson.

School Inspectors—David D. Olive;, and Geo. B. Melville.

Constables—.lames Thomas, Robert Bowman, and Willis Roe.

Path Master—William Sherman.

D. D. OLIVER, Chairman.


J. K. MILLER, Secretary.


The first meeting of the Highway Commissioners took place March 26th, 1858, and "on motion of D. D. Oliver it was voted to form two road districts; road district No. 1 to be bounded as follows:

Commencing on Thunder Bay, where the east and west center line of T. 30 N. R. 8 E., intersects the bay; thence west to range line between ranges 7 and 8; thence north to town line between thirty-one and thirty-two; thence east to range line between ranges 8 and 9; thence south to Thunder Bay; thence on margin of bay to place of beginning. Road district No. 2 to be bounded as follows: north by-road district No. 1; thence east by Thunder Bay to the town line between sections twenty-eight and twenty-nine; thence west to range line between Twenty-seven and twenty-eight; thence north to the south boundary of district No. one."

At the next meeting of the Highway Commissioners the first petition for a highway was laid before them, being a petition for a road from near the mouth of Thunder Bay River to Devil River.

The petition was accepted, and the surveyor ordered to ascertain the best route for said road.

At the next township meeting, April 5th, 1858, the following motion was passed; "voted to raise the sum of one hundred dollars, according to the report of the 'Highway Commissioners, for the purpose of laying out a road from the mouth of Thunder Bay River to Devil River."

The first general election in Alpena County was held November 2nd, 1858, and from the official records of the township of Fremont we find that for the office of Governor, Moses Wisner received twenty votes, and Chas. E. Stewart fifteen.

The vote for the rest of the State ticket ran fifteen and twenty all through, except for the Representative to State Legislature, and for that office Daniel Carter received twenty-one votes.

The following is a list of the first county officers elected:

Sheriff—Win. R. Bowman.

County Clerk—A. F. Fletcher.

County Treasurer—J. K. Miller.

Register of Deeds—J. K. Miller.

County Surveyor—D. D. Oliver.

Circuit Court Com'r—D. Plough.

Coroner—A. F. Fletcher.

Every vote, thirty-five, were cast in favor of the general banking law.

From the first tax roll made out in 1858, we glean the following interesting statistics of the value of the resident tax at that period:

Total valuation of real estate in the township of Fremont, or more properly speaking the present county of Alpena, $16,881.95;

total personal tax, $1,076;

Number of acres assessed, 5,532.62-100.

In the township of Fremont, $425 was raised for township purposes;

$100 for highway, and 8364.62 for county purposes.

There were only 9 real estate holders, who were residents.

The residents were D. D. Oliver, Devil river mills, assessed at $3,300; Geo. N. Fletcher, J. K. Lockwood, J. Oldfield, J. S. Minor, Andrew Horn, Beans & Evans, and two persons named Campbell and Chisholm.

The last two are not the ones who live in Alpena at present.

Of personal tax payers there were ten, as follows: J. J. Wilder, $170; J. W. Paxton, $976; Daniel McDonald, $534; John Cameron, $263; Miller, Fletcher & Co., $750; Daniel Carter, $225; Lewis Atkins, $100; Geo. B. Melville, $65; J. J. Shaw, $115; Geo. N. Fletcher, $195.

For the incidents just narrated, we are indebted to Messrs. Lockwood, Carter, Culliugs, Paxton, and other early settlers.

The following is from the Alpena Weekly Argus of May 24, 1876:

If our readers will try and imagine what the situation was in this region some twenty or thirty years ago, what would be the contrast between then and now.

Where now stands the city of Alpena, Michigan twenty years ago was a dense forest, inhabited only by the red man and wild birds and beast.

Probably very few if any of our early settlers, who came to this region, less than twenty years ago, had the slightest idea that the then vast wilderness which formed Alpena city and county, would in so few years be converted into the most thriving and prosperous city on the shore and some of the most valuable farming land in the whole State of Michigan.

Let our readers look back even sixteen years, and there was but little to show that the prospects were at all favorable for much of a settlement at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River.

But how different the situation now, when we have a flourishing city of 5,000 human souls, and the number is increasing every year.

When parties first talked of farming in Alpena, the idea was ridiculed by nearly everybody, as it was thought that the land in this vicinity was entirely worthless, except for the timber growing upon it.

But in this those who laughed at the adventurer who went forth into the wilderness to carve out his fortune and make him a home and a farm, have lived to see, within the short space of ten years, Alpena County dotted here and there with many farms, the productiveness of which cannot be excelled in the Union.

And still, year by year, the woodman dives deeper and deeper into the forest, and as he marches on is left behind him the clearings, houses and broad acres of beautiful land that produces crops far in excess of his brightest anticipations.

Nor does it stop here, for while those who have become farmers in this county are meeting with such success, many others are induced to follow in the wake, and it seems that the time is not very far in the future when farming in Alpena County will attract as much, and even more, attention than the manufacture of lumber, which is now our principal production.

There are thousands upon thousands of acres of State lands yet in this country, are meeting with such success, many others are induced to follow the wake and it seems that the time is not very far in the future when farming in Alpena County will attract as much.

And even more attention than manufacture of lumber which is now our principal production.

There are thousands upon thousands of acres of State lands yet in this county, awaiting for enterprising: men to take them up and convert them into valuable farms; and this they are doing at a rapid rate.

Alpena, Michigan in 1858.

In the latter part of November, 1858, a small schooner, the J. S. Minor, entered Thunder Bay River, having on board some twenty-five or thirty persons, among whom were Messrs. E. K. Potter, Abram Hopper, W. Stevens, and the families of Samuel Boggs and Alexander Archibald.

The twenty-five or thirty persons could not have been very favorably impressed with the appearance of Alpena, at that time, and there were but few among the passengers who could have entertained the idea that the wilderness about them would, before many years, be covered with mills and buildings.

Mr. Hopper says that the first building be noticed was the store of Miller, Fletcher & Co., two stories in height, (now known as the Myer's block, and since then much enlarged.)

The building had just received a coat of paint, and it loomed up prominently amid the surrounding wilderness - a vanguard of civilization.

Close by it, and right in the street now known as Water Street, was a small frame house occupied by A. F. Fletcher, (this building has since been moved and is now occupied by Geo. Fox, on Second Street, near the bridge, as a jewelry shop.)

A little further from the river was another small building occupied by Daniel Carter.

This building is now in a very dilapidated condition, and can be seen in front of Wood's Saloon.

The three buildings mentioned, together with a cooper's shop that was used for a school house, and Walter Scott's old shanty, constituted all the houses in that part of Alpena City now known as the First and Second wards.

The Third ward was represented by a shanty, and the six buildings formed the city of Alpena, November 19th, 1858, or, as it was then termed, the village of Fremont.

We can readily believe that the newly arrived settlers and lumbermen did not require much time to look the city over, and we can easily imagine the feelings of disgust which the appearance of the prospective city must have created in their minds.

As regards the clearing about the river, Mr. E. K. Potter says:

"There was a narrow strip chopped on each side of the river, of which chopping a small piece was cleared; this was near the river, at that time, and where the buildings were located, the whole clearing not exceeding two blocks in extent, on either side of the river.

Where Field's drug store now stands was then the edge of the woods."

Mr. J. Kaufman tells us that the present site of Warner & Co's store was, at the time, one of the worst looking frog holes he ever saw, and regarding the land northwesterly from the present site of Bostwick's and Potter's brick blocks, Mr. Hopper states that they were covered with a burnt slashing.

At the time of Mr. Hopper's landing, the burnt slashing was covered with some six inches of snow, and the scene looked inexpressibly cheerless and uninviting.

But eighteen years of unceasing industry has wrought a mighty change in the snow-covered slashing, and the spectator looking up the river, instead of a desolate burning, will see brick blocks, saw mills, stores, boarding houses, foundries and hundreds of comfortable looking dwelling houses.

A good idea of the wilderness about Alpena may be formed from a remark of Mr. Potter's, that many of the old settlers will recollect how the county Treasurer got lost in the woods not far from where the Congregational Church now stands, and how they turned out to hunt him up.

As there were but few houses, the parties who came on the Minor experienced considerable difficulty in obtaining sleeping accommodations, and we have not the least doubt but that the sleeping capacities of the few houses were considerably strained.

The only store in the place was that of Miller, Fletcher & Co., and of this building Mr. Potter says: "The first store in Alpena was occupied by Miller, Fletcher & Co., and stood in the street, in front of what is now known as the Myer's block.

They kept a general assortment, such as dry goods, groceries hardware, drugs and medicines, and what could not be found in that store, would be useless to look for in Alpena or the adjoining counties.

The Myers' building was completed in the fall of 1858, the first floor being used as a store house, and the second for county purposes, viz: Court room, Treasurer's office, County Clerk's and Sheriff's offices.

The Court room was used for all public gatherings, church and Sabbath school, elections, ball room, etc., etc."

To use one of Mark Twain's expressions, if Miller's store had been burned it would have been a serious loss to the whole community.

They might have stood the loss of the drug store, one of the county offices, and the church, but if they had lost all the store departments, county offices, Court room, church and Sabbath school, ball room, etc.. the loss would have been tremendous.

Young and thinly settled as Alpena was, yet she boasted of a school.

It was situated somewhere near Mr. Heuber's present meat market, and consisted of a board shanty about sixteen feet square, with a shed roof.

It had formerly been used for a cooper's shop, but the necessity for some place to train the young minds had forced the coopers to vacate.

Miss S. Carter is entitled to the honor of having taught the first school.

No American could get along without his mail, and the early settlers of Alpena were no exception to the rule, so a post office was started in 1858, with Daniel Carter as first postmaster.

The first mail arrived January 17th, 1858, and it was a very important event to the settlers then in Alpena.

The post office was known as Fremont; afterwards at the request, of the citizens the name was changed to Alpena; then to Thunder Bay, and finally to Alpena again.

This name it still bears, as the postal authorities got tired of so much changing.

Mr. Potter speaks of the mail as follows: "The U. S. mail was in charge of Indians and half-breeds on the route between Bay City and Sault Ste. Marie.

The mail was drawn on a train by three dogs, the course being around the shore, and they drove up in front of the post office, kept by Daniel Carter, Esq., with as much ceremony as does the thorough-brace of the present day.

The mail came once a week in winter, and in summer the only chance for the mail to get to Alpena was in case any person from Alpena went below, when the post-master would give him an order for the mail, and the last word to a parting friend was, generally, “don't forget the mail."

In December, 1858, Mr. John Cole arrived in Alpena, accompanied by a number of mechanics, for the purpose of building two sawmills, one at each side of the dam, which had been commenced that season.

One of the mills was for Lockwood & Minor, and the other for Geo. N. Fletcher.

The timber was got out and framed, but the mill of Lockwood & Minor was not put up until several years afterwards, while the timber for Mr. Fletcher's mill was burned in one of the fires that afflicted Alpena.

During the winter of 1858-59, the first lumbering commenced in Alpena, Messrs. Archibald & Murray having a contract to put in the river one million feet, more or less, of logs for Lockwood & Minor.

The logs were taken from T. 31. N. R. 6. E., and the contract price was about $2 per thousand feet.

Men's wages were from $14 to $16 per month, they agreeing to stay until the drive was down.

Mr. E. K. Potter's business was to scale and mark the logs at the landing, and he thus had the honor of scaling the first log, as well as that of measuring the first cargo of lumber that left Alpena, which Wiis in the latter part of the summer of 1850.

The honor of cutting the first log belongs to Mr. Sam'l Boggs, while that of drawing it is claimed by three different parties, William Stevens, Albert Merrill, and W. Steples.

Henry Doyle had a hand in sawing the first log.

The schooner Meridian, Captain Flood, carried the first cargo of lumber from Alpena.

In the spring of 1859, Messrs. Smith & Chamberlain commenced the erection of the first steam saw mill in Alpena, and by the latter part of August, in the same year, the mill was in operation, and the business of sawing lumber first commenced.

The mill of Smith & Chamberlain stood on the site now occupied by Folkerts & Butterfield's saw mill.

The mill was burned down in the spring of 1864, and the present mill erected in its place during the same year.

Up to 1859 the communication between Alpena and the lower ports had been by means of an occasional sail boat or trading schooner, or by means of the upper lake steamboats.

By the latter conveyance a person would be landed on Thunder Bay Island, and then he would have to engage some fisherman to take him to Alpena by means of a sail boat.

But the business of Alpena had increased to such an extent, and so many supplies were needed for the support of the inhabitants, and for mill operations, that the steamer Forest Queen found it profitable to make occasional trips to Alpena.

The same cause induced the owners of the steamer Columbia to place her on the line between Alpena and Bay City, making regular trips, The Columbia being a small boat, was able to land her passengers and freight on the dock inside the river, while the Forest Queen, on account of the bar at the mouth of the river, was compelled to lay outside, the passengers and freight being landed by means of lighters, boats, etc.

We have been unable to ascertain the date of the first arrival of the above boats.

The Colombia kept on the line for some time, when she was replaced by the steamer Huron, the latter making occasional trips.

Mr. Casey, of the Columbia's officials, relates the following laughable incident, which will show the value that was attached to the fair sex by the people "on the shore" in those days:

At one of the ports between Bay City and Alpena, they took on board the only pretty girl in the place—the lady in question being about to leave.

The people of the town where she had been staying were so distressed at the loss of their valuable prize, that they hung all the flags they possessed at half-mast, in token of their sorrow at the sad event.

The Fremont fever being over, the people of Alpena wisely determined to change the name of the place from Fremont to Alpena.

This was accomplished by the following act of Legislature:

An Act to change the name of the village of Fremont, in the County of Alpena.

Section 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact.

That the name of village of Fremont, in the county of Alpena, State of Michigan, be and the same is hereby changed to Alpena.

Sec. 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

Approved February 29th 1859.

In May, 1800, the first public gathering of the Alpena folks for pleasure, took place, and a very agreeable time passed.

All the inhabitants were present.

Mr. G. F. Lewis, in his history of Alpena, says:

"In July, 1860, Lockwood & Minor commenced to build the steam saw mill, called the Island Mill, completed and started it running with one circular saw, two days short of six weeks from the time the first blow was struck.

Lockwood & Minor, commenced to build another new steam saw mill in 1862, and had the frame up, when a fire which bad been started in the woods, spread into and through the town on the 4th of July, burning this and a greater part of the buildings of every character in the settlement.

This mill was rebuilt, however, and started in October following, running one circular saw and a siding mill."

The population of Alpena County in 1860, according to State official reports, was 290, and in 1861 the number of acres assessed 237,832.02.

This includes the unorganized counties of Alcona, Otsego, Montmorency and Presque Isle, attached to Alpena for municipal purposes.

At the township meeting held April 2nd, 1860, the following motion was passed: "Also voted and carried, that twenty-five dollars be apportioned out of the school fund for library purposes."

From this small commencement oar public library has grown until now there are nearly fourteen hundred volumes in the library.

The Alpena Weekly Argus of May 31,1876, thus speaks of the contrast between the state of affairs eighteen years ago and at present:

What a difference between our mall carrying facilities now and eighteen years ago.

In 1868 it was all chance as to the receiving of mail, and In the winter season it was conveyed by Indians, with dogs, while in the summer it was received occasionally - just as some of the citizens visited Bay City - and was brought up by sail-boats.

But what a change?

Now we are supplied with a daily mail both summer and winter, in winter by stage, and during the summer season by a line of steamers which ply between Alpena and Bay City.

The population of the county was but a few souls, and could be called, by naming each individual, in the space of five minutes, yet now the inhabitants of the city and county will reach about eight thousand, and we may say that all have profited by their settlement in this locality.

Even the settler who only five years ago attempted to cultivate land in this county, with not a dollar to commence with, now finds himself the possessor of many (some hundreds) acres of fertile lands which yield abundant crops every season, and return him a handsome revenue.

Truly a marked difference and improvement in the short space of eighteen years.

Alpena, Michigan in 1864.

In 1864 the population had increased to 674, and the village began to assume a more civilized appearance.

In August of the same year, Lockwood & Minor's mill burned down, but was rebuilt during the summer, and started sawing October 20th.

This mill was known as the Home Mill, and is now owned by Bewick, Comstock & Co.

The other mills built during the year 1864 were the Lester mill, now known as the Mason, Luce & Co., built by Q. S. Lester, and the Oldfield water mill, built by John Oldfield.

The latter mill is now owned by Richardson, Avery & Co.

Besides the saw mills there was a small tar factory owned by a person named Doer, which was burned down during the latter part of the summer.

Mr. Lockwood was very unfortunate in his early struggles, having been twice burned out, but with an unfaltering determination to succeed, he cleared away the smoking ruins of his mill and erected another in its place.

Mr. Lockwood was, and is yet, one of our most energetic citizens; confident of Alpena's success, he was ever ready to aid any project that would ensure prosperity to the place.

The same remarks are true as regards Mr. J. S. Minor.

At the spring election of 1864, sixty-nine votes were cast, and among other motions passed by the electors on that occasion, was one for raising $1,000 by tax, for the purpose of erecting a bridge over the river.

Mr. Obed Smith had the contract.

This bridge was afterwards replaced by a superannuated floating concern, which disgusted the citizens so much, that it was removed and the present fine structure erected in its place.

Alpena had to furnish her proportion of soldiers for the purpose of suppressing the rebellion, and about thirty of her citizens were taken at various times for that purpose.

Among those who went from Alpena to the battle fields of the South, were J. D. Potter, Moses Bingham, Arthur Irwin, Denton Sellick, James Whalen, John Ellsworth, John Kaufman and Solomon Evans.

At a special election held June 23rd, 1864, it was voted, unanimously, to raise one hundred dollars for each volunteer, either by loan or bond.

About June, 1864, the steamer Forest Queen with a large number of passengers onboard arrived at the mouth of Thunder Bay River.

There had been some extensive fires in the woods, and both bay and lake were covered with a dense smoke.

It thus happened that although the Forest Queen was close to Alpena, yet the city could not be seen, and the passengers who had expected to get a view of their future home as they approached, were disappointed.

The Forest Queen had hardly got anchored when boat loads of mill hands came out to pay her a visit, and to get, what was of far more interest to them, something to drink, for it must be borne in mind that spirituous liquors were not allowed to be sold in Alpena.

It was no unusual event when a steamboat with a saloon on board anchored off the river, for the mill hands to leave their work and go out to her—the mill in the meantime being left to take care of itself.

The Forest Queen, as was usual with the occasional steamboats that came to Alpena, had more passengers on board than she could provide sleeping accommodations for, and at least seventy men were forced to sleep on the floor.

A sofa was considered a luxury and the fortunate possessor was much envied.

Among other passengers were Geo. N. Fletcher and family, J. R. Beach, William Pulford, Timothy Crowley and family, Miss Lockwood, and the writer of this sketch.

None of the newly arrived settlers were much impressed by the appearance of the town as viewed from Miller's dock.

Where was the city they had heard so much of during the past week or so?

The people did not call the few saw mills and houses that were scattered about at wide intervals a city?

Wasn't the main city further up the river?

No, the few houses and mills constituted all there was of Alpena in 1864.

The new settlers considered themselves sold, and there was no concealing the fact that they were much disgusted at the prospects before them.

In what place were the brick stores, paved streets, fine residences, and churches that form the component parts of a city?

They were in the future and existed then only in the imaginations of the enterprising founders.

The city at that time, as we remember it, consisted of Oldfield's mill, Fletcher's mill, Boggs' hotel, and a group of buildings known as salt block, two mill boarding houses, and less than a dozen private dwelling houses, on the north side of the river; the south side being represented by Lockwood & Miner's mill, the Island mill, the Lester mill, three barn looking stores, a court house, and about twenty or thirty dwellings or boarding houses.,

The only respectable private residence was a building owned by Mr. Murray, situated on the lot now owned by Maltz & Co., on Second Street.

The site of Bolton & McRae's brick block was then unoccupied, its chief decorations being burnt pine stumps.

Wages averaged from $35 to $40 per month and board; money was plentiful, and the only liquor allowed to be sold openly, was “Waboo bitters” and Sam's "fighting cider."

Many of the residents will probably remember the fighting cider, for it was a common saying among the boys that a smell of the fighting cider forty rods off would cause a man to show his pugnacity.

Although whiskey, etc., was not allowed to be sold openly, yet, if a man wanted a drink and was willing to pay accordingly for it, he could get it.

For a certain money consideration a man would be informed where, at the side of a particular stump, in such and such a place, he could find a bottle of the ardent liquor embedded in the sand, and a number of bottles were thus found.

How they came there is of course a mystery, for it is something out of the course of nature to grow glass bottles full of Canada whisky with the duty unpaid.

The only amusements were dancing and sail boat excursions to some of the islands.

The principle diet was pork, beans and black-strap for breakfast; beans, pork and black-strap for dinner, and a sort of medley for supper.

The above diet was further embellished by cookies, and salt mule (as the beef was termed) and, occasionally, a feast of hot rolls.

Later in the summer, we remember attending a patriotic meeting, held in the court house, the object being to get volunteers to represent Alpena at the battle fields in the south—the call was not in vain.

There was no regular steamboat communication between Alpena and the lower ports, as the Columbia was taken off the route some time before, but near the latter part of the summer of 1864, the propeller Genesee Chief began to make regular trips between Alpena and Detroit, and thus inaugurated a regular steamboat communication during the season of navigation.

Among the passengers who came up on the Chief on one of her early trips, were a number of ladies, who at present are residents of this city.

One of the ladies was the fortunate possessor of a keg of beer, and wishing to have a social time, she invited some of the other lady passengers to join with her and spend an hour or so in a friendly sort of manner.

The invited guests eagerly accepted, and when they were all assembled, the word was given for the expected keg of beer to be brought up.

But alas!

Some thirsty mortal had discovered the keg sometime before and had drank all the contents, thus leaving the expectant ones beer-less.

There was no social gathering that evening, and each of the guests betook herself to her stateroom to mourn over the great affliction.

There were no doctors in Alpena at that time, and when one of the boys was so unfortunate as to get mangled by the saw, he was forced to go below in order to get his wounds properly dressed.

We remember one person who had the misfortune to have all the fingers taken off his hand by the edger saw.

The wound was dressed as well as possible by some of the townsmen, and then the unfortunate man was placed aboard a sail boat and taken over to Thunder Bay Island, and put aboard the first steamer that passed.

As soon as he got to Detroit, his hand received the first surgical treatment since the time of the accident.

One day as we were working on the lumber pile in front of Fletcher's mill (now Folkert & Butterfield's), we were much surprised to see a gentlemen in an officer's uniform step on the lumber pile and commence shoving the boards aboard a vessel that was being loaded.

Mr. Geo. N. Fletcher was scaling.

The officer worked a short time and soon after set up a sign with J. B. Tuttle marked upon it.

Of the mills built during the year 1865, Mr. Geo. F. Lewis in his history of Alpena says as follows:

"In 1865 the Harrington steam saw mill, the largest and best in the Alpena district, was built; the steam mill above the dam owned by B. H. Campbell & Co.; a large water mill five miles up the river, owned by H. Broadwell; another large water mill two miles above the latter, owned by J. Trowbridge & Brothers, who built a steam saw mill on the bay the same year, and L. M. Mason & Co. completed the first water mill commenced by Lockwood in 1858, put ting in a mulay saw, two shingle and one lath machines."

Some changes have taken place since Mr. Lewis wrote the above.

The Harrington mill is now owned by Hilliard, Churchill & Co., and still continues to be the best, and among other improvements introduced by the present firm is their furnace for burning slabs and other mill refuse.

The water mills of Broadwell and Trowbridge have not been running for some time, and the steam mill built by Trowbridge on the bay shore has disappeared entirely.

During 1865 the following act was passed by the State Legislature:

Sec—1. That there shall be laid out and established, by the commissioners to be appointed by the Governor, upon the most direct and eligible route, being the places hereinafter designated, the following State roads:

Sec. 21—A road from Duncan, in Cheboygan county, to Sauble river, in Iosco county, via Alpena, to be known as the Duncan, Alpena and Sauble river State road.

At the spring election of 1866 one hundred and nineteen votes were cast, and during the same year three shingle mills were erected, one of which, built by Thompson & Co., near Campbell & Potters saw mill, has an estimated capacity of 10,000,000 shingles per year.

At the fall election, in November, 220 votes were cast.

The townships of Ossineke, Alcona, and Corlies were organized during 1866, the first tax rolls being made out in 1867.

The county was now composed of the townships of Alpena, Corlies, Ossineke, Alcona and Harrisville, the county seat being the village of Alpena.

Ossineke still remains a township of Alpena; Alcona now belongs to Alcona County, while the township of Corlies existed only one year.

The township of Corlies was situated within the county of Alpena and consisted of the following territory: The north half of Town 31, ranges 5, 6, and 7, and town 32, ranges 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

In 1868 the mill of A. F. Fletcher & Co., was erected, and at the general election, Nov. 3rd, 396 votes were cast.

The steamer Metropolis made her first trip to Alpena, June 4th, 1868.

In 1869 Frank Gilchrist's saw mill was erected, and the county of Alcona set off from Alpena and organized into a separate county.

Commenting upon the difference between the prospects for Alpena in 1864 and at present, the Alpena Weekly Argus of June 7, 1876, says:

There are many of the residents of this city and county who can look back to the year 1864, when the population of the entire county of Alpena was but 674, and the farming prospects of the community were decidedly unfavorable, as people "in those days were turning their attention to other pursuits than tilling the soil of a seemingly worthless country.

The principal business of Alpena in those days of early settlement was the manufacture of lumber, for which this region is so justly celebrated.

Farming was of no account, and no one would make a venture or commencement in that direction.

But times have changed since then, and now Alpena County can boast of some of the best farms under a state of cultivation in any of the new counties of the whole State.

Where only six years ago the grand forest stood in all her majesty, now is seen the evidence of all the forward marching of civilization toward the interior of the State, and year after year the number of farmers is increasing at a rate that shows that Alpena county possesses the facilities for making farming one of the most profitable pursuits in this or any other part of Michigan.

Many of the people who sought the pursuits of the city when they first came to this section, having since learned that there was much more In store for them, in this world's goods, to be gained by making farms of our good timbered lands than by any other means, besides making a comfortable and independent living, are now accumulating a property that will in a few years be of great value, not only to themselves, but to the community.

At the fall election of November 8, 1870, the highest vote cast was 519, and the population, according to the State census, amounted to 2,756, an increase since 1864 of 2,082—a little over four times.

We have given the number of votes cast at different elections in order to show the increase of population.

For this reason we selected the township of Alpena which up to 1866 contained all the present county.

The assessed valuation of the county of Alpena in 1870 was $1,488,729.92.

This included the present county of Alpena and the unorganized counties of Montmorency and Presque Isle.

Daring the long winters, when the men were nearly all away in the lumber woods, the ladies and what few men remained in town, were dependent upon themselves for amusements.

The people, however, were very sociable and friendly in their communications with each other, no marked division of social classes existed, and so they had many a pleasant gathering which helped to make the long winters pass agreeably.

Among other amusements, the ladies organized sewing societies, principally for charitable purposes.

At one of the sewing societies some of the ladies got up a tableau entitled the "Flour of the Family," the price of admission being five cents.

Only one lady was admitted to see the tableau at the same time.

The company who were assembled went into the room where the scene was exhibited, one by one, and each person on returning declared it to be well worth seeing, doing so in order to induce those who hadn't witnessed the tableau to go and see it.

The tableau consisted of a little flour sprinkled on the table, and as soon as the observer saw it, she knew she had been sold, but wishing to sell the rest she kept silent as to what it really was until all present had been in.

The result was a merry laugh.

The winters were further enlivened by social dances in which most of the residents took part and as the lumber camps were not far distant, it was nothing unusual for the boys to hitch up their teams of an evening and drive to town to join in the amusement.

Towards spring the supply of provisions would get very small, and money would not purchase many of the common necessaries of life.

The inhabitants, therefore, looked with much more interest for the arrival of the first boats than now, and the arrival of the first steamboat with supplies was the cause of a general rejoicing.

At such times the one who possessed a few barrels of flour would run up prices to a very high rate, having a complete corner in the flour trade.

This flour would be dealt out to the inhabitants in small quantities, no person being allowed to purchase more than a few pounds at a time.

The boys delighted to play practical jokes on Mr. Miller, and they often indulged their mischievous inclinations.

One day Dave bet Mr. Miller 25 cents that he could throw a heavy anchor into the river and then dive down and bring it up.

The bet was accepted and the anchor tumbled off the dock into the river.

Dave paid the bet, but Mr. Miller didn't see the joke until he had to pay a few dollars in order to get the anchor up again.

During the year 1871, some very important changes took place in the county, while the number of mills was increased by the erection of the Alpena Lumber Co.'s saw mill.

The most important change was the incorporation of the city of Alpena.

This was done by act of Legislature No. 249, and approved March 29, 1871, the following territory forming the corporation:

The southwest quarter of section 13; the south half of sections fourteen, fifteen and sixteen; the whole of sections twenty-one, twenty-two and twenty-eight; the west fractional half of section twenty-four, and fractional sections twenty-three, twenty-six and twenty-seven, in township thirty-one, north of range eight east.

This territory was on both sides of the river, and was taken from the township of Alpena.

It was divided into three wards; the first and second wards comprising all the land on the south side of the river, and the third all that which lay to the north.

The dividing line between the first and second wards was as follow:

Commencing at a point in the center of Thunder Bay river, opposite a line between lots seven and thirty-seven, in block eight; thence along said line to Third Street; thence along the center of Third Street to Washington avenue, and thence west on said avenue to the center of Thunder Bay River.

The city was entitled to the following officers, who were elected by the people: Mayor, Comptroller, Recorder, Treasurer, three Justices of Peace, two Aldermen from each ward, one Supervisor from each ward and three Constables.

The Comptroller, Recorder and Aldermen held office two years; the Mayor, Treasurer, Supervisors and Constables held office one year and the Justices of Peace three years.

The Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen constituted the Common Council of the city of Alpena, and they had the power to appoint the following officers who held office one year; City Attorney, Marshall, Street Commissioner and Engineers of fire departments, besides such other officers as the Council thought necessary.

The Council had power to remove any officer, "except Mayor, Recorder, and Justice of Peace, for corrupt or willful malfeasance or misfeasance in office, or for willful neglect of the duties of his office, or for any violation of any of the ordinances of Common Council, by a vote of two-thirds of all the Aldermen elect."

The Common Council had full control of the city finances, interests, etc., and had power to pass such orders, bylaws and ordinances as they deemed proper, only that the legislation of the Council must not conflict with the laws of Michigan.

The first election in the city of Alpena took place on the first Monday of April, 1871, and resulted in the election of the following officers:

Mayor.—S. L. Carpenter.

Treasurer.—A. L. Power.

Comptroller.—Donald McRae.

Recorder.—A. Hopper.

Aldermen.—J. H. Stephens, Geo. Richardson, H. S. Seage, Ira Stout, Sam'l Boggs and G. H. Davis.

Supervisors.—Alex. McDonald, 1st ward; James J. Potter, 2nd ward; James McTavish, 3rd ward.

The county now consisted of the city of Alpena, and the townships of Alpena and Ossineke, there being six representatives on the Board of Supervisors.

Noble M. Brackenreed was the first supervisor of Alpena Township after the incorporation of the city.

June 29th, 1871, J. C. Viall first commenced the publication of the ALPENA Weekly Argus as the representative of the Democratic Party in Alpena.

Previous to this event the Pioneer had been the only newspaper in the country; it had been in existence for some years, being first known as the Thunder Bay Monitor.

We have been unable to ascertain the date when the Monitor was first issued.

Mr. A. C. Tetft, the present editor and proprietor, assumed control of the Pioneer, October 12th, 1867.

The Pioneer represents the Republican Party in Alpena county.

The propeller Wenona arrived at Alpena, August 11th, 1871, on her first trip, Capt. L. R. Boynton being in command.

October 3rd, 1871, Lodge No. 170. I. O. 0. F., was established, and during the same month the first brick business block, that of Bolton & McRae, was finished.

This building is situated on Dock Street, near the river, and forms a very imposing appearance.

The injunction business, which of late has been a very prominent feature in elections, originated about the latter part of the year 1871, owing to the exorbitant school taxes which were levied about that time.

There is no doubt but that considerable of the school funds were misapplied, and to such an extent had the taxes been raised, that nearly all the largest tax payers formed a union for the purpose of preventing further unreasonable burdens being placed upon them.

This union was termed the "Klu Klux," and the members comprising it investigated very closely the affairs of the county.

Thirty-three of the principal tax payers got out an injunction to restrain the Treasurer from collecting the school tax which they claimed had been assessed illegally.

This was the commencement of the injunction business, and the struggle, so far, has been for the purpose of making the injunctionists pay the taxes still due from them.

The injunction movement was a good thing for Alpena; it brought the officials to their senses; it aided very much in preventing further abuses of official trust, and the result, to-day, is that the city school orders are at par.

The object in view by the injunetionists was a good one, and they accomplished their object, but, as one of our leading citizens publicly remarked, "the object for which the association was formed having been attained, it was now their duty to pay their share of the public burdens."

On this subject, however, there is considerable difference of opinion.

Another very important feature of the times was the struggle between the authorities and a number of liquor dealers, which is supposed to have resulted in the burning of the city a little later.

The authorities were determined that liquor should not be sold in Alpena, and consequently arrested everyone who was found selling the forbidden liquors.

To such an extent was the prosecution carried on, that if a person scented in the least of liquor, he was arrested and ordered to tell where he got it, and if he refused to give the information, as was generally the case, he was committed to jail for contempt of the court.

This of course created a very bad feeling in the community, and the question was carried into the spring elections, resulting in a very lively contest between the parties, with the odds in favor of the temperance.

The county of Presque Isle which so far had been attached to Alpena County, was in 1871, organized into a separate county, leaving Alpena County in its present shape.

The first banking firms in Alpena were organized April 1st, 1872, and consisted of two firms, Bewick, Comstock & Co., under the name of the Alpena Banking Company, and the Exchange Bank of Geo. L. Maltz & Co.

Both these firms have had plenty of business, and at present appear to be firmly established.

They have aided considerably in building up the city, and have proved a great benefit to the citizens of this place.

We have now come down to Alpena's great affliction, viz: the great fire of July 12th, 1872, when in a few hours fifteen acres in the business part of the town was laid waste by the fire-fiend, and caused a loss to the citizens of $175,000.

The principal losses, as given by the Pioneer were as follows:

W. Van Inwagen, $6,000

C. Golling, $5,000

R. Ambrose, $3,000

F. 8. Goodrich, $9,000

J. C. Chisholm, $3,700

A. P. A., $500

E. J. Dane, $1,000

Wm. McMaster, $3,500

Capt. Harrington, $2.000

Dr. A. Warner, $1,000

Bewick. Comstock & Co., $2,000

A. McDonald, $3,500

Sam'l Boggs, $8,000

A. Pack &~Co., $8,000

C. C. Whitney, $11.000

Mrs. H. G. Westbrook, $1,000

J. C. Reed, $1,000

Stevens & Turnbull, $1,000

Mrs. Murray, $2,500

Dr. Maiden, $2.500

Potter Brothers, $16,000

A. L. Power & Co., $10,000

With the exception of the societies we have given no losses except those of $1,000 and upwards.

Thirteen of those enumerated had no insurance on their goods and buildings, the rest were partly insured.

With their usual energy our business men set to work, and in a few months several fine brick blocks were erected on the burnt sites of the wooden buildings.

The office of the Alpena Weekly Argus had been entirely consumed by the fire, but in forty-five days from the time it was burned out, a new printing outfit was received, and the Argus again appeared with its weekly account of the doings of the people.

The Argus office had no insurance upon its stock.

The brick blocks built were the McDonald block, the Potter block, the Pack block, F. S. Goodrich's store, C. C. Whitney store, J. T. Bostwick's store, and Charles Going's brick block.

Some of the buildings mentioned were not erected until sometime after the fire.

One result of the great fire was the establishing of the fire limits, and the withdrawal of the business center from Water Street to Second Street.

The fire is supposed to have taken its origin from the whisky strife, and the whisky men were charged with burning the city.

A detective was employed to ferret out the matter, and a few arrests were made, but the trials failed to prove the charges.

About fifteen months before this event a fire occurred which destroyed the business portion of the Third ward, burning the Star hotel, Evergreen Hall, Bolton & McRae's store, Beebe's buildings, and Bogg's hotel.

The loss amounted to many thousands of dollars.

Bolton & McRae erected their present brick block on the site of the burned one; Gillett & Co. built a brick store on the site of the Star, and H. Beebe replaced his by a large wooden building which was burned down February 21st, 1876.

The Alpena Weekly Argus of June 14. 1870, says:

With what distinctiveness do many of our citizens remember the great fire in 1872, alluded to on our first page, when nearly all of the business portion of Alpena, south of the river, was swallowed up by the fiery elements, and sixty-five buildings laid in ashes within three hours’ time from the first outbreak of the raging flames.

Even now it makes, us shudder us those sad recollections are brought to our mind; to think of the loss of life, the destruction of property, the ruination of business, and men who were, ten minutes before the event, considered well to do, and in prosperous circumstances, rendered homeless and penniless by the great disaster.

Yet the citizens of Alpena were always an energetic and thriving people, and not hesitating to mourn over the ruins of the property they had accumulated in the past, they began immediately making preparations "for the construction of more substantial buildings for business purposes, and in a short time was seen the hurry and bustle of mechanics as they labored faithfully on the brick and wood structures that now adorn the streets of our prosperous and thriving city.

Great changes have been wrought since that dreadful fire, and instead of the wooden business houses, we have now magnificent structures of brick in which a great deal of the business of the city is done.

At the time of the fire there had been but little done in the county in the farming line, but many of those who lost their all by the calamity, and not having heart or means to make another commencement, turned their steps toward the country, sought out lands, cleared, cultivated, and in due time they reaped a reward highly gratifying, as the yields of their soil was and is still much in excess of what anyone had expected of Alpena lands.

The example has since been followed by many others who do not regret their undertaking, and who now have no desire to return to city life, as they feel that they are doing better by farming than they possibly could by following the uncertain pursuits of life in the city.

July 23rd, 1872, the shingle mill of Bewick, Comstock & Co., was burned down.

Loss, about $15,000. Insured for $5,000.

This mill was one of the best shingle mills in the city.

The present mill was erected on the site of the old one during the winter of 1873-74.

The Frolic was first issued August 20th, 1873, the office being situated in the backwoods of Alpena Township, and a mile and a half from the nearest neighbor.

In 1873 the township of Alpena was subdivided into the townships of Alpena, Long Rapids, and Wilson, the county then comprising the city corporation and four townships, Alpena, Long Rapids, Wilson and Ossineke.

This change increased the Board of Supervisors to eight members.

Alpena, Michigan High School 1908By act of Legislature, approved April 4th, 1873, all the territory comprised within the limits of the city corporation was formed into the Union School District of the City of Alpena, the affairs being managed by two members elected in each ward; the Mayor acting as President of the Board, and the Recorder as Secretary.

Prior to this event the city corporation had been attached to Union School District No. 1, of the township of Alpena, which comprised all the townships except Ossineke.

Since 1873 no change has taken place in the county, although an attempt has been made to form the townships of Alpena, Long Rapids and Wilson into separate school districts, each township to form a school district.

This change is needed very much and will take place before long.

In the latter part of 1873, a post office was established in the township of Long Rapids, with John Louden as postmaster.

In 1874 a census was taken by the Supervisors, and the result has been a very complete and reliable record of the county, for the year 1873.

From this census we glean many interesting facts, showing the true state of the county.

The population of the county was 4,807 as follows: City of Alpena 3,964, Alpena Township 249, Long Rapids 291, Wilson 293, Ossineke 110.

The valuation of the county as equalized by the Board of Supervisors was $2,134,360.50.

Of the population 2,808 were males, 1,999 females.

There were 417,775 acres of taxed lands, of which 6,482 acres were improved.

Of the wheat crop of 1873, the yield was 3,142 bushels, an average per acre of 24.16 bushels.

The yield of potatoes in 1873 amounted to 15,626 bushels, while the hay crop was 670 tons; number of horses owned in the county 361.

The capital invested in lumbering as given by official reports was $8470,000.

Amount of lumber sawed 78,500,000 feet, worth $1,157,000.

Capital invested in shingle manufacture, $40,000; value of shingles $160,000.

Capital invested in the flour manufacture, $2,500; amount of four produced, 225 barrels.

In foundries and machine shops, $11,000 was invested, the products of which were worth $20,000.

In the wagon, carriage and sleigh business, $8,000 was invested; value of products, $9,000.

In planing and turning mills, and sash, door and blind factories, 5,000 was invested; value of products, $18,000.

Concerning the schools of the city, the census gives the assessed valuation of real and personal estate in the district at $1,200,000; value of school property, $25,000; cost of Central school building $20,000; salary of Superintendent $1,400

A comparison of the different censuses taken will show the rapid increase of inhabitants during ten years.

Census of 1864 gave 674 inhabitants; census of 1870 gave $2,756, and the census of 1874 gave $4,807, an increase in ten years of nearly eight times.

During the year ending September 30, 1874, 10,550.82 acres were licensed to settlers, and 731.37 acres patented to homesteaders.

These lands were State swamp lands.

Besides the above 120 acres of school lands, at $4 per acre, 320 of agricultural lands, at $3 per acre, and 9,726.84 of acres swamplands at $1.25 per acre, were sold during the same time.

The number of acres of vacant lands in 1874 was agricultural 1,400; primary school, 7,720; swampland, 103,884.32.

Since 1874 there has been a steady increase of settlers, more lands have been brought under cultivation and a large number of acres have since been homesteaded or bought.

There are plenty of good vacant lands left for those who wish them, and on which a person, if he will use reasonable exertions, can live in comfort, and independence.

The lands, rich as they are, will not produce crops without cultivation, and a person who expects to make a living without work, had better keep off the wild lands.

The business of Alpena during the year 1874 can be seen from the following report:

Statement of exports by vessels and steamers, clearing from Alpena, Michigan, during the summer of 1874.

Total number of vessels 492;

Number of men employed on vessels, 6,492;

Tonnage, 159,072.34.

Amount of cedar posts shipped, 70,369;

House blocks, 9,905;

Pump logs, 2,677;

Lath, 33,116,000;

Shingles, 58,478,000;

Lumber, 69,736,689;

Packages of fish, 3,749;

Packages of merchandize, 326;

Tons of ice, 450;

Number of pickets, 206,643;

Cords of bark, 170;

Tons of fresh fish, 1,440.

In addition to the above, at least 10,000,000 feet of lumber was shipped from Alpena by vessels that did not report at the Custom House, vessels mostly clearing from Buffalo to Chicago.

There were also further shipments of lumber, shingles and cedar posts make upon steamers Wenona, St. Joseph, and Marine City, said steamers having cleared from Cleveland for Mackinac, and vice versa, not reporting at this custom house.

These would probably swell the total shipments to 85,000,000 feet of lumber, 65,000,000 shingles and 100,000 cedar posts.

James J. Potter, Deputy Collector of Customs.

At the general election held in this county November 3rd, 1874 the number of votes cast for the office of Governor was 923, of which Bagley (Republican) received 491 and Chamberlain (Democrat) received 432.

In the city of Alpena 765 votes were cast; in Alpena township, 54 votes; in Wilson township, 27 votes; in Ossineke township, 23 votes, and in Long Rapids' township, 54 votes.

The depression in business circles which prevailed all over the country during 1875 affected Alpena considerably, though in comparison with other places, business has been very good—the saw mills all running.

According to the report of Major G. Weitzel's, 506 vessels of 164,614 tons cleared from Alpena in 1875, taking 67,872,000 feet of lumber, 28,255,000 shingles and 18,006,000 pieces of lath.

Of course the price paid for lumber was less than that of preceding years, consequently less wages were paid, and the result has been that more people have turned their attention to farming than they would otherwise have done, if business had been good.

This will result in more real good to the country than was at first apparent.

Concerning the farming of 1875 we shall speak fully under the head of farming, towards the latter part of this pamphlet.


A person approaching Alpena from the bay, the first time, will not be very much impressed by the scene before him, especially if he be artistically inclined.

The woods on both sides of him have nearly all been burnt by fires or cut down by the energetic lumberman, and the once beautifully wooded shores are now spotted with gaunt, desolate looking skeletons of dead trees.

The land on which the city is situated, is low, and not at all inviting to one who is fond of high mountains, bold crags, and similar poetical, but impractical places.

The scene before the approaching visitor will be a vision of houses, mills, lumber piles, and vessels, while prominently in view he will notice the fine appearance of the Central School building, and the bold, commanding, yet graceful appearance of the Fletcher House.

But to a practical mind the view, as the boat steams up the river, presents a very different appearance, and such a mind will readily recognize the signs of commercial activity and prosperity that surrounds it.

The singing of saws as they rip up the logs; the noise of the engines; the rattle of lumber trucks; the log rafts slowly meandering downstream, and the vessels, steamboats, and sail-boats that attract the attention, speak volumes for the business that is going on in our lively, go-ahead city.

There is no disguising the fact that most persons are unfavorably impressed with the first view they have of the city, but Alpena is like a true friend, it improves with acquaintance.

It presents few attractions for the loafer or the lazy individual, but to a person of enterprise and energy, it proves a real friend and gives back many fold for labor invested.

The city extends on the bay about a mile and back from the bay along both sides of the river about the same distance.

It contains numerous fine residences, which have an air of comfort about them, pleasing to behold, while the grounds around them are, generally, tastefully arranged.

Except in business centers, almost every house in town occupies a lot of generally about one-fifth of an acre, and thus the city is spread over a large extent of ground for the number of inhabitants.

The streets are paved with sawdust, or pulverized plank as they are jocosely termed, and it tends in a great measure to deaden the sound of vehicles as they pass up and down the streets.

The greatest fault that is found with the patent pulverized pavement is its great inclination for visiting - its greatest desire being to get on some other street, and it is nothing uncommon to see half a dozen streets so badly mixed up by the wind, that even the Street Commissioner is unable to tell which is which.

Numerous trees have been planted along the line of the streets, and in the time to come will aid considerably in beautifying the city.

The streets as a general rule are laid out at right angles with each other, but a few cut across diagonally, notably among which is Washington Avenue which is laid out on a section line.

The weather, generally, is very agreeable, although we sometimes experience a few hot days, but the nights are almost always cool and refreshing.

The river divides the city into two parts, and furnishes a very convenient place for vessels to load in.

Vessels can go almost up to the dam which is distant from the mouth of the river about a mile.

Two bridges connect the two sides, one, a swing bridge, between Dock and Second streets, and the other where Chisholm Street touches the river.

The dockage facilities can be increased to a great extent by placing a lock at the dam, and thus raising the vessels to a level with the waters above.

There are four docks outside the river which extends into the bay, viz: Campbell, Potter & Co's dock, Deacon Hitchcock's dock, the Trowbridge dock and the Alpena Lumber Co's dock.

The city contains, at present, 11 brick blocks, nearly all on Second and Dock streets, 8 groceries and general stores, 3 drug stores, 9 dry goods and millinery establishments, 3 hardware stores, 1 music store, 3 merchant tailors, 2 cigar manufacturing establishments, 2 machine shops with foundries attached, 1 steam grist mill, 2 planing mills, 4 school houses, 1 post office, 2 insurance agencies, 2 banking establishments, 4 butcher shops, 1 bakery, 2 waggon shops, 5 blacksmith shops, 3 shoe shops, 3 barber's establishments, 7 hotels, 1 photographic room, 2 harness makers' shops, 3 green-grocers, 2 livery stables, 2 good volunteer fire companies with steam fire engines, 2 printing establishments, 3 newspapers, one skating rink, one military company, 1 public hall capable of seating 600 people comfortably, 2 express offices, 1 telegraph office, 3 house and sign painting shops, 1 picture store, 2 furniture stores, 15 saw and shingle mills, 7 churches, 5 societies, 1 jail, and the magnetic mineral well with a commodious bath house attached.

The professions are well represented by 7 lawyers, 8 doctors, 2 music teachers, and 2 architects.

The situation of Alpena city is low, but there is sufficient raise for draining off the surface water.

The want of drains is one of the needs of the city, and these are yearly being dug in various parts of the city.

As the expense of building drains and keeping them in repair is considerable, the city is not able to make as complete a system of drainage as the citizens would like, but yearly, the drains are extended and before long the city will have a complete system of drainage.

All the principal streets are provided with sidewalks.

The land in the city is sand, muck or stone, the sand predominating.

There is no good farming lands, as a general rule, within three miles of the mouth of the river - the bulk of valuable farming lands being situated from six to forty miles distant.

No one can deny that Alpena is admirably situated for commercial purposes; with the exception of Tawas, it possesses the only good harbor between Port Huron and Presque Isle; it is convenient to the line of Chicago and Lake Superior steam boats, the line passing Alpena about ten miles distant; the country back of Alpena is rich and fertile, and as a wheat growing country, is not excelled by any land in the State.

These lands are being rapidly settled and cultivated, and the products raised for at least fifty miles back must eventually find their way to Alpena, as the most convenient shipping point.

This county and the counties adjoining are large enough to support a city twice the size of Alpena at present.

We predict that the city will yet be one of the important grain shipping ports of the State.

There is no doubt but that salt can be found in Alpena, although at present men are too much engaged in the lumber business to pay much attention to other industries.

Two attempts have already been made to obtain salt—one resulted in the discovery of the famed magnetic spring, and the other is yet unfinished.

The manufacture of salt would aid considerably in increasing the prosperity of Alpena, for, besides the salt that would be sure to be shipped to other ports, it would save this community thousands of dollars that are now paid yearly by our citizens to other places, and then it would provide a profitable way of getting rid of the mill refuse.

A vessel could reach Alpena from Point Aux Barques as soon as a vessel could reach Bay City from the same place, and then if the vessels were going to one of the upper lake ports, the one at Alpena would be 150 miles ahead of the one that went to Bay City to load.

A community to be successful must export more than it imports, thus leaving a balance in its favor, and if Alpena had salt for sale instead of having to buy, the result would be a great benefit to the whole community, for the money that now goes out to purchase salt would remain at home and furnish employment to many men.

This of course would cause a demand for other industries.

Alpena possesses many attractions for the tourist and invalid.

A Lake Scene Near Alpena, Michigan

There are numerous lakes in the interior, which will soon be connected with the city by good carriage roads.

These lakes are full of fish, and a very agreeable time can be passed in trolling for them.

Every year excursion parties visit Long Lake, distant about seven miles, and all of them return home well pleased with their trip.

Long Lake is a beautiful inland lake about ten miles long and from two to three miles wide.

The lake is connected with Lake Huron by a small outlet, which, during the summer when the flow of water from the lake is very light, disappears in a mysterious manner down a subterranean channel.

Farm houses and cleared lands can be seen at various points on both sides of the lake, and the pleasure seeker will have no difficulty in finding a good stopping place.

Charges, so far, have been reasonable, and plenty of row and sail-boats can be obtained.

North of Long Lake, and about a mile from it, is another beautiful lake, studded with islands, known as Grand Lake.

Besides the above lakes, there is a large lake called Hubbard Lake, in the western part of the county, about thirty miles distant from the city, and a natural curiosity known as Sunken Lake.

The waters of Sunken Lake flow through a subterranean channel and are thus lost to view.

In the bay are several islands in close proximity to the city and admirably adapted for pleasure parties.

The city contains a good public library, containing about 1,400 volumes of travels, histories, biographies, works of fiction, etc., etc.

The library is open to the public on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons.

Miss Lizzie Nason is Librarian.

Invalids will find the climate of Alpena admirably adapted to their necessities.

The air is generally cool and invigorating, and the nights agreeable and refreshing, so that a person can enjoy a sound sleep.

The people are lively and constantly projecting some social amusement.

Weather permitting, steamboats and mails arrive and depart daily.

Rheumatics have already learned of the curative properties of the magnetic well, and many who suffered from this painful disease have experienced relief by using its waters.

The mineral water was struck at a depth of 900 feet below the surface, and the water is conducted by pipes to a large and comfortable bath house, near the Fletcher House.

Professor Duffleld says the following about the well and qualities:

"There are" he says, "two kinds of wells which are called Artesian.'

The 1st class where parties have tubed down in soil and gravel and liave nor entered or penetrated the rock, in which they merely get a water whose medical power is obtained from flowing through some alluvial strata, and which cannot, strictly speaking be called mineral waters.

And 2nd, those which come from a great depth in the rock, and from which all superficial streams have been tubed off.

These are the true Artesian wells.

The danger in the shallow wells and mere surface springs being more from organic matter than from the lime or magnesia salts.

It is now admitted that waters containing mineral matter are better for the health of parties than filtered rain water."

Alpena Magnetic Spring comes from a depth of 900 feet in the rock, and all the artificial streams have been shut off by tubing, consequently it is a true artesian well, and also a true magnetic spring.

The following is Prof.  Duffield's analysis of the water:

In connection with the spring it may not be amiss to give a few particulars concerning the Fletcher House.

We take the following from the "Saginaw Valley and Lake Shore Business Gazetteer and Directory:

This was built by G. N. Fletcher, one of the most enterprising citizens, and cost over $50,000.

It is beautifully situated, commanding a full and uninterrupted view of Thunder Bay, and offers more than ordinary inducements to pleasure seekers, especially during the usual "heated term."

The building is of wood, three stories high, with a French roof.

The frontage extends 155 feet on Water street running parallel with the river; 140 feet on the Bay, and 100 feet on River Street.

A double veranda extends around three sides, measuring over 800 feet in length, and is accessible from every portion of the house.

The first floor has a main entrance 12 feet wide, 250 feet of halls, from 10 to 12 feet in width, an office 21/32, parlor 22x30, dining room 34x50, capable of seating 150 guests, (the two latter front on the Bay), a fine billiard room, barbershop and two stores.

The second story is divided into thirty-six suits of rooms, and has over 400 feet of halls.

The third story has 39 suits of rooms and some 400 feet of halls.

Each room is supplied with water, lighted with gas, and heated with steam, and are all well ventilated.


Alpena County is situated on the northeast part of the lower peninsula of Michigan.

It is bounded on the east by Thunder Bay and Lake Huron; on the north by Presque Isle; on the west by the unorganized county of Montmorency (at present attached to Alpena County); on the south by Alcona County; Oscoda County touches it at the southwest corner.

It is divided into the city corporation of Alpena, and the townships of Alpena, Long Rapids, Wilson and Ossineke, and is formed of that part of land known as towns 29, 30, 31 and 32, in ranges 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 east.

The number of acres has been estimated at 705,683, of which some 300,000 acres are pine lands.

The county seat is situated at the city of Alpena.

Alpena County forms part of the 26th State Representative District, which is represented at present by W. L. Churchill, of this city.

It forms part of the 9th State Senatorial District, represented now by I. Fancher, Republican.

It forms part of the 8 Congressional District, represented now by N. B. Bradley, Republican.

It forms part of the 18th Circuit, District, and presided over at present by S. M. Green, Democrat.

Alpena County is watered by Thunder Bay River and branches, and contains the pretty inland lakes known as Long Lake and Hubbard Lake.

Sunken Lake, a natural curiosity, is within its limits.

Thunder Bay, which borders both on the south and east, is formed by a deep indention in the land, some ten miles, and forms one of the best and most commodious natural harbors on the shores of Michigan.

It is something in the shape of an irregular half circle, ten miles in diameter; is free from shoals, and contains good anchorage.

The outermost point of the south shore is called South Point.

A little below Thunder Bay River, sometimes called Alpena River, which empties into the bay about midway between its two extremities, is Partridge Point, (so called on account of the abundance of partridge that once existed there); south of Partridge Point, is Squaw Bay, and below that is Ossineke or Devil river.

Ossineke is the Indian word for Devil.

Out from the end of Patridge Point, and a little more than a mile away, is Sulphur Island, (so called from a sulphuric substance that can be obtained there.)

Sulphur Island contains good trap-net grounds, where, annually a large number of white fish are captured.

This island is much visited during the summer season by joyous groups of picnickers, it being distant from the city of Alpena only between five and six miles, making it a very convenient resort for pleasure seekers.

The island is not very large and contains some woods.

About a mile eastward from Alpena city is Trowbridge Point, once a flourishing depot for the lumber sawed at the mills some few miles up the river, and close to it is a small bay, known as Norwegian bay.

A little further out is White Fish Point, named from the abundance of white-fish that sported there, but now scarce, and passing along by the fisheries of Old Harvey Williams, Plough and Campbell, (the last two the best in the bay,) we come to North Point, and also to the outskirts of the bay.

From the water, a little way out from North Point, we have an admirable view of the shores of Alpena County; to the south is South Point and the south shore of the bay, plain to view as regards the general outlook of the land, but too far off to distinguish individual objects plainly.

To the westward we can dimly observe the smoke of Alpena city, and make out the general contour of the land.

Out in the blue waters of Lake Huron are the pretty group of island known as Sugar, Thunder Bay and Gull Islands.

These islands are distant about two miles from North Point, Sugar Island being the nearest.

Sugar Island contains over 100 acres of land; it is the property of John Paxton, and is the site of some of the most flourishing-gill net fisheries in the State.

Thunder Bay Island is owned by United States Government, and on it is situated the light house, known as Thunder Bay Light.

Gull Island is a small island owned by Frank Jennings, and is used during the summer as a gill net fishery, this island is north of the other two, and receives its name from the amount of gulls that frequent it.

Close by North point, to the southward, is the reef on which the propeller Galena was wrecked in 1872.

This reef is well known, and is out of the way of vessels entering the bay, so that there is not the least necessity for vessels coming to grief upon it.

Close by the same place the propeller ship “Congress” was burned some years ago.

Looking to the northward, the remaining shores of Alpena stand out boldly and plainly to view, it appearing to jut out in regular steps.

The source of the shore to Alpena and up the lake varies but little, being about northwesterly and forming a peninsula about ten miles long and eight miles wide.

As we journey up the shore, we pass North Point gill net fisheries, Little Thunder Bay, Crooked Island Misery Point.

In Little Thunder Bay and well to the northwest of it, is a curious freak of nature.

It consists of a deep hole some one or two hundred feet in diameter, and a depth according to a sounding made by us, of 79 feet.

It is full of water and is supposed to be the outlet of Sunken Lake, some thirty miles distant from the shore.

Prof. Winchel, who examined it, believes in this theory; “In passing over this sunken hole, a person experiences a feeling as if the bottom had dropped out, leaving him suspended in the air.

The sides appear to go straight down, and as far as can be seen, are covered with weeds, amid which large pike find a secure hiding place.

It is affirmed that this hole never freezes over.”

Further to the north are SanHook and Nine Mile Point, and beyond these can be seen Middle Island and Presque Isle Point.

The line of upper lake steamboats and vessels pass about five miles from this shore, and it is nothing infrequent to see in sight at one time, from 30 to 40 steamboats, tugs and sailing vessels.

At Nine Mile point is situated Morris dock, from which a large amount of cedar posts, house blocks, and telegraph poles have been shipped to other ports.

Between Middle Island and Thunder Bay Island, is the reef on which white fish cast their spawn every year.

During the spawning season, the fish in countless numbers swarm about the rocky bottom, and hundreds of barrels of them get entangled in the gill nets, which extends in all directions along the reef, thus become the prize of the fishermen.

The depth of water on the reef averages about seven fathoms, although at one point the water is only four fathoms.

The reef is about five miles from shore.

The city of Alpena is situated in the 45 degree of north latitude, and is distant from Detroit, by navigable route, 250 miles; from Bay City, 120 miles; from Mackinac, 120 miles; from Sault St. Marie, 220 miles; from Buffalo, 500 miles; from New York, 940 miles; from Harrisville, 30 miles; from Au Sable, 50 miles.


The Baptist Society was first organized October 25th, 1867, with Rev. F. N. Barlow as first pastor.

The present pastor is the Rev. W. C. Leaned.

The church is situated on the corner of Third and Lockwood Streets, and was built in 1868.

It is capable of seating 250 persons.

The number of members is 197, of which 149 are resident.

Services are held every Sunday, morning and evening.

Prayer meeting on Thursday evening.

In connection with the church there is a prosperous Sunday School, with Mr. F. S. Goodrich as Superintendent, assisted by sixteen teachers.

St. Bernard's Church (Catholic) was established May 11, 1869.

The two years preceding, it had been under the charge of the Rev. P. B. Murray, as a missionary station.

The Rev. Mr. Murray was the first pastor, but his place is now occupied by the Rev. Van Ginnipp.

The church is situated on Chisholm Street, between Third and Fourth Streets.

In connection with the society is both Sunday and week day school.

Services every Sunday at 8:30 A. M., 10:30 A. M., and at 7 P. M. Sermon in English in the morning, and in French in the evening.

The Episcopal Society was organized February 1st, 1865, and the first service held July 9th, 1865, Rev. G. O. Bachman officiating as the first rector.

Mr. Bachman remained in charge 18 months when he was relieved by the Rev. H. H. Brown, who had charge 6 months.

Prior to 1868 there were 72 baptisms.

The present rector, the Rev. W. W. Rafter, took charge of the parish in June, 1868.

Since Mr. Rafter took charge of the parish there have been 84 confirmations and 195 baptisms.

This would make the membership of the church about 300.

Trinity church was built in 1867.

The first services being held on Christmas.

During the summer of 1869 the church was enlarged.

Adjoining the church is a large and handsome rectory, worth $6,300.

The church is valued at $4,350, and both church and rectory were erected by the aid furnished by the citizens of Alpena.

Services every Sunday morning and evening; on all Saints days and festivals, and a daily service daring the Lental season.

There is a Sunday School in connection with the church.

The First Congregational Church is situated on Second street and Washington Ave., fronting on Second street.

The society was organized during the summer of 1860.

In 1865 the society commenced building the present handsome church, and completed it by the fall of 1868.

The church possesses a fine bell weighing 1,200 pounds.

This year a lecture room has been added to the main building, making a very convenient place for prayer meetings, etc.

The Congregational Church is the finest building of the kind at present in the city.

Prayer meeting every Tuesday and Friday evenings.

There is a large and prosperous Sunday School attached to the church, with Wm. D. Hitchcock as superintendent, assisted by 27 teachers.

Number of scholars 236.

The first pastor was the Rev. C. G. Bisbee.

The present pastor is the Rev. A. B. Allen.

Services every Sunday, morning and evening.

The Methodist society was organized April 7th, 1867, with 29 communicants.

The church of the society, which is a handsome structure, is situated on Dock Street, and was dedicated January 1st, 1870, the first commencement at building being made November, 1868.

The present minister is the Rev. Mr. White.

Services every Sunday, morning and evening.

A Sunday School is attached to the society.

Besides the above there are the Lutheran, the Norwegian, and the Jewish religious societies.

The Norwegian Church was built this year, Rev. M. P. Ruh being pastor.

The church is situated on Dunbar Street.

The Lutheran church is situated on Dock Street.


The public cemetery is situated on Campbellville Road about one mile and a half from Second Street Bridge.

It contains 10 acres of land.

There are two other cemeteries, the Catholic and the Jewish, both being sectarian.

The Catholic cemetery is situated on Eleventh Street.

The Jewish cemetery adjoins to the public cemetery.


The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized October 3rd, 1871, commencing with six charter members.

Among the first officers were J. C. Viall, K. G., and J. Van Dusen V. G.

The present principal officers are A. Harshaw, N. G.; A. R. McDonald, V. G; J. Van Dusen, P. S.; G. N. Blackburn, Treasurer, and A. C. Tefft, R. S.

The society meets every Tuesday evening, at 8:30, at the lodge room in Whitney's brick block, corner of Second and Chisholm streets. The number of members is 63.

The lodge is known as Alpena Lodge, No. 170 I. O. O. F.

Alpena Lodge, No. 199, Free and Accepted Masons is held under and by authority of a charter granted by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Michigan.

This charter was given during the session of the Grand Lodge, January, 1869, to Wm. P. Maiden, M. D., Worshipful Master; Orin Erskine, Senior Warden; and Josiah Frink, Junior Warden, and to their successors in office.

The lodge was formed with 16 charter members.

The society assembles Wednesday evening, on or previous to the full of the moon, each month, at 7:30, at the lodge room in Bolton & McRae's brick block, on Dock street.

L. B. Howard is the present W. M., and M. N.Bedford, Secretary.

The present number of members is 93.

Attached to the society is a chapter of Royal Arch Masons who meet on the first Friday of each month.

Alpena Lodge No. 775, I. O. G. T., was organized October 1st, 1873, by D. W. C. T. Russel.

The first principal officers were James J. Potter, W. C. T.; Miss Nettie Riddle, W. V. T.; A. R. McDonald Secretary, and Alex. Campbell, Treasurer.

Since the organization of the lodge, 211 persons have been initiated and the lodge, at present, is in good working order, with a membership of about 80.

The present principal officers are A. Harshaw, W. G. T.; Miss Jennie Campbell, W. V. T.; J. C. Fockler, Secretary; H. McTavish, Treasurer; and J. A. McDonald, F. S.

The society meets every Wednesday evening at 7 o'clock, at the lodge room in the Power block, on Second Street.

This year a new lodge has been organized in Long Rapids Township.

The German Aid Society was organized June 26th, 1871, with the following officers! Chas. Golling, President; E. Maleh, Vice-President; Chas. Worst, Secretary, and Chas. Hueber, Treasurer.

The Pioneer society organized December 15th, 1875, and is composed of settlers who arrived in Alpena prior to June 1st 1865. - Mr. J. K. Lockwood is President, and A. C. Tefft, Secretary.

The Alpine Boat Club was organized October 19, 1874, with eighteen members.

During the summer of 1875, the club procured a six-oared barge, built by Capt. S E. Burnham, Saginaw City.

The barge is 48 feet 8 inches in length, and 44 inches beam, and has since been turned into an eight-oared barge.

In the fall of 1836 a boat house was built, at a cost of $500, sixty feet long and 24 feet wide.

The Pedro crew to from the members of the Alpine Boat Club, and consists of four members; V, C. Bonham, Captain; J. H. Flecther, stroke; E. Kelsey 2, and H. D. Churchill 3.

This crew has a four-oared out-rigged barge, 32 feet long and 36 inches beam, named Pedro, after the five spot of hearts - the emblem of the Pedro crew.

In January, 1876, by the burning of Beebe's Hall, at that time leased by the Club, the society lost in oars, flags, etc., about $300.

The present value of club property is about $1,200.

The present officers are W. L. Churchill, President; A. R. McDonald, Vice-President; E. Wilcox, Secretary; J. H Fletcher, Captain, and Z. M. Knight, Ensign.

This society has been the swans of originating a number of very pleasant hops, masquerades, etc., which have helped to enliven the long winters.

Fire Companies.

Sahgonahkato Fire Company No. 1 was organized in Inly, 1871, A. L. Power being foreman.

Last year the company was reorganized.

The present officers, are Henry S. Seage, Foreman; J. D. Turnbull, 1st Assistant; Wm. Todd, 2nd Assistant; S. A. L.Warner, Treasurer; Fred. H. Barlow, Secretary; and Charles Lester, Steward.

The annual meeting of the company is on the first Tuesday in June, and the regular meeting on the first Tuesday of every month.

The company has a Clapp & Jones steam fire engine.

Fire Company No. 2 was organized last year, with D. P. Baker, Foreman; Henry Bolton, 1st Assistant, and Alex. Campbell, Captain of Hose Company.

These officers have since been re-elected.

J. Parke is 2nd Assistant, and A. Brown, Secretary.

The meetings of the company are the same as No. L

The Company has a Silsby Rotary steam fire engine.



The military company was organized in 1875, and was mustered into the State service June 3rd, 1876.

The company assembles for drill every Monday evening at the drill shed, and numbers 86 members.

It is known as Company H., Alpena Guards, Third Regiment of State troops.

The company officers are L. B. Howard, Captain; A. Harshaw, First Lieutenant, and R. Campbell, Second Lieutenant.


Communication between Alpena and other ports is maintained by means of two lines of steamboats, The Alpena Transportation Co., and the Mail Line.

The Mail Line runs daily, except Sunday, between Alpena and Bay City, leaving Alpena at 7 A. M. and getting into Bay City in time to take the evening train.

The boat leaves Bay City at 2 P. M., and arrives at Alpena early in the morning.

The Alpena Transportation Co.’s boats run between Alpena and Detroit, and extend their trips to Mackinac.

The boats between Alpena and Detroit, arrive at Alpena on Monday, Thursday and Friday of each week, and leave for Detroit on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday of each week.

Meals and berths are provided on the Detroit lines.

On the Mail Line, meals are extra.

Accommodations on all the boats are first class.

Two of the boats leave Alpena for Mackinac on Thursday and Friday, and arrive at Alpena from Mackinac on Saturday and Sunday of each week.


Fishing is carried on by means of trap nets and gill nets.

The trap net grounds are inside the bay, the best places being Campbell's fishery, Plough's fishery and Sulphur Island.

The gill net grounds lie off the coast a distance of from five to ten miles.

The number of rigs employed in fishing varies every year, but they number generally, about ten trap nets and ten or twelve gill net rigs.

The yearly catch will average between four and five thousand barrels, worth at least $30,000.

Lately a large business has sprung up in the fresh fish line—the fish being packed in ice in Alpena, and then shipped to various points below.

The most convenient sites for the gill net boats are on North Point, Sugar Island and Gull Island.

The best fishing season is during the fall, when the fish come on the various reefs to spawn, but the reckless catching at such times has sensibly diminished the number of fish.

The principal fish sought after are the white fish and trout, and of these fish, the State Commission in their official report for 1873-4 state as follows:

The White Fish (correg<mua alius) is undeniable the most valuable fresh water variety found on the continent.

Its geographical range in the United States extends from Lake Ontario through all the great lakes to the head waters of Lake Superior, whilst a few are found in some of the inland lakes of New York and Michigan, and they are reported in limited numbers in a very few of the lakes of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

For the purposes, however, of home consumption, as well as for commerce, the great chain of lakes affords the only field of supply.

These lakes in former years, and even now after years of improvidence and waste, produce millions annually.

Yet the catch is very appreciably diminishing, to the evident alarm of the States that border on the lakes, and of the country at large.

The causes of this decrease are too transparent for enumeration or designation.

The simple mention of the naked fact opens a volume replete with bitter recollections and reproof. Avarice, human greed, regard neither the times nor the modes of capture, and ignorance is their stupid associate and ally.

Decay and famine even ever have followed, and ever will follow in the footsteps of such a copartnership.

The size and quantity of the fish vary in different waters.

In their more northern habitat at Sault Ste Marie (the outlet of Lake Superior) they average four pounds, and in the head waters of Lake Superior they have been reported caught weighing high as fifteen pounds!

While from the more southern lakes of the chain their average will not exceed two or three pounds.

The quality of the fish, too, is believed to vary in different waters— those on the north shores of the lakes and in the higher latitudes being regarded superior to those in lower latitudes, owing, as it is said, to the cold spring streams that debouch in the lakes on the north-side, and to the constantly colder water produced by a higher latitude.

A minute description of this fish is hardly necessary, as nearly every resident of Michigan is familiar with this most excellent and popular fish, in general terms it may be stated its back is of a grayish color, the rest is beautiful white, and when emerging from the water, of most lustrous appearance.

Head small as contrasted with its body, and when approaching the spawning period, the head is thought to decrease in size, imparting to the fish almost a deformed look.

The spawning period is from middle to late autumn.

Their natural resort is in deep water, except during the spawning season, when they take to shoal water for the deposition of their spawn.

The number in certain localities and at certain seasons, being so greatly in excess of their number in the same localities at other seasons, has led some into the belief that they are of a migratory habit, the great bulk of them retiring to the upper lakes daring the spring and summer, and leaving for the lower lakes as the generation season arrives.

This claim, however, of a migratory habit or disposition, is by no means clearly established.

The White Fish is a large but careless breeder, so that in the absence of artificial appliance to rescue the ova from the hydra, mouths that lie in wait for their destruction, but comparatively small results come from its prolific habit.

The young are extremely active, and incline to deep water, thereby escaping the attacks of predaceous fish and of numerous other enemies that are accustomed to glut their appetites and regale their native depravity in shoal waters.

On the subject of the food of the White Fish there exists quite a diversity of opinion, They being neither predatory nor carnivorous feeders, the better judgment seems to be that their food is of vegetable origin - the product of aquatic plants, insects, and jelly-like Crustaceans.

Their peculiar conformation and structural organism, their known habits, and the quality of their meat, go to substantiate this view.

Nothing has ever been found in the Intestines of the White Fish that would establish in any degree their relation to the predaceons or carnivorous family; hence the inference, supported by observation, is to the effect that their food is of vegetable origin, water insects, the offshoot of aquatic plants, and different forms of Crustacea.

The food of the young fish, too, soon alter hatched, must be the infusoria of the water, that microscopic animalcula life with which every drop of water teems when brought into certain conditions, one of which conditions is the presence of aquatic plants and vegetable growth.

This view accords with the teachings of instinct, for the parent fish invariably seeks the shoal waters for the deposition of their spawn, where there is usually an abundance of aquatic plants and minute insect life.

Instinct so directing and assuring them that in such place or places will their offspring on emerging to life find the food adapted to their delicate and tender constitutions.

The young carries a sac the same as other members of the Salmonidse family which is soon absorbed, lasting them generally from seven to ten days.

This yolk sac of the White Fish, unlike that of the Trout or Salmon, from the hour they dash away the house of their birth, seems to offer no perceivable resistance to their agile movements.

The White Fish is not in the common acceptation ef the term a game or fly fish.

Not but what they may have been caught with the line and the rod, but if so caught there was a double mistake, the fish and the angler both counting, in sporting parlance, on a "scratch," for the fish did not intend to be so caught, nor did the angler make his cast in any expectation of such result.

They are pure and simple a net or seine fish.


Perhaps the next fish in Importance, Indigenous to Michigan waters, are the Lake trout—known under the various names.

Mackinac Trout, Salmon Trout, Namaycush, Salmo Siskawitz, and even these do not exhaust the nomenclature.

These several varieties, differing in size, coloring, and general appearance, are without any very great structural differences, and are undoubtedly congeneric, all being of lacustrine habitat and habits, and non-migratory, they rarely ever entering any of the rivers for the purpose of spawning or In quest of food.

The Namaycush, or Great Lake Trout, attain in some waters to great size, while its brother, the Siskawltz, and other lake trout, as a general thing, are of considerably less size, - size, appearance, and other conditions depending very much on locality, depth, and temperature of water.

The spawning season is in autumn, October being the fish culturist’s best harvest month.

As the generation period arrives, they approach the shores for the deposition of the spawn, seeking out the gravelly shoals of the lake, and are not infrequently seen In those narrow gravelly channels between the many islands that fringe the shores of the great lakes.

The spawn of the lake trout may be obtained by the artificial methods, and about the same processes of incubation obtain as with the ova of other members of the Salmondse class.

The lake trout are a very acceptable and valuable table fish, already supplying a large home consumption, while as an article of commerce they rank very high.

Fish dealers have informed us that, they are more easily kept in good condition during the warm seasons and bear transportation better than almost any other variety.

This S|iec1es, it is believed, mar be successfully introduced into all the larger and better class of our inland lakes, where they will find water of ample depth and food in sufficient supply to warrant the experiment of their culture.

Besides the above we have pickerel, bass, sturgeon, herring, suckers "lawyers" and a number of others.


The county contains four post offices, one in the city; one in Alpena Township, known as Eastside,

Mrs. Roberts, post mistress; one in Ossineke Township, Mr. Sanborn, post master; one in Long Rapids Township, John Louden, post master.

The city post office is situated on Water Street, Wm. D. Hitchcock being post master.

It contains 536 letter boxes, and 159 drawers, besides a general delivery and money order department.

Mails arrive every morning (weather permitting) except Monday, and leaves every morning except Sunday.

In winter the mails arrive and depart six times a week, unless delayed by bad roads.

Mails go to Ossineke three times a week and to the other township offices once a week.

Mails for up the shore leave on Friday on the Marine City.


Like the rest of Michigan, Alpena County can boast of many school houses, and every year the taxpayers willingly submit to a heavy tax in order that the children in the county may be educated.

Besides the city schools, there are situated at different places in the county 13 school houses, many of them surrounded by woods—the scholars coming from a radius of three miles to attend school.

The first thing that the people think of in a new settlement is a road so that they can get to and from their farms, and as soon as this is accomplished, they turn their attention to the school, and soon a neat log or frame building is erected; a teacher is engaged, and the work of making future Presidents commences.

The county contains three school districts, viz: the Union School District of the city of Alpena; Union School District No. 1 of the township of Alpena, comprising the townships of Alpena, Wilson and Long Rapids, and the school district of Ossineke.

The Union School District of the township of Alpena contains 7 frame and 4 log school houses, worth $5,400 and capable of seating 420 scholars.

The school receipts (1875) from taxes, etc., was $8,134.47.

The expenditures have been as follows:

Paid male teachers $3,075;

paid female teachers $870;

for building and repairing school houses $861.61;

Incidentals, $1,455.74.

The school houses are furnished with maps, charts and black boards.

At present there is no public library in the district.

The district schools are under the control of a board of trustees, six in number.

This board chooses from its number, a Moderator, a Director, and an Assessor.

The wages paid to teachers in charge of Township schools, range from $45 to $55 per month.

The average attendance in the district schools is about twelve.

The number of children in the three townships, between the ages of 5 and 20, according to the last census was 249.

In the city there are four school houses, one in the Third ward; one in the Second ward; one at Campbellville, and the large and handsome Central building in the First ward.

The Central building contains several departments known as the Primary, Secondary, Upper Secondary, Intermediate, Grammar and High schools.

The course of education, commences with the lowest department, and requires about 10 years.

The city schools are very complete and a pupil, who will apply himself to the work before him, can attain a first class education, at no expense to himself for tuition.

The present superintendent is Prof. F. S. Dewey, -who has been in charge of the city schools for several years.

The Prof, is aided by a corps of eight teachers; one male and seven female.

For defraying the expenses of the schools for the coming year, the Board of Education has voted the sum of $6,900.

The number of school children in the city is about 1,000.

Besides the above, the Catholic society has a private school attached to their organization; for the benefit of the children belong to the society.

Number of pupils 115.

The Central building fronts on Second Street, and was built at a cost of $25,000.

It is a very handsome wooden building, in the shape of a Greek cross, each section being 34x70 feet in extent.

The building is three stories in height. In the school district of Ossineke there are two school houses.


At present the lumber business is the main stay of Alpena, the manufacture being confined to Norway and the various kinds of white and cork pine.

The pine is of good quality and bears a good reputation, and the supply is estimated by various judges to last from ten to forty years.

The lumber woods are situated from the city a distance of from twenty to sixty miles and the logs are floated by means of the river to the various mills in the city.

Besides the pine, we have a large quantity of hemlock, maple, beach, tamarack, basswood, white and black ash, poplar, birch, elm, ironwood, white oak and various other kinds of trees.

The average cut per year in lumber and shingles, will exceed 80,000,000.

All the mills engaged in sawing lumber or cutting shingles at present are situated within the limits of the city corporation, except two.

The following will give the reader an account of the mills and their sawing capacity:

The steam saw mill of Sanborn & Brothers, is situated at Ossineke, and gives employment to fifteen men.

It contains one circular saw, and has 1,500,000 feet of logs on hand.

The steam saw mill of the Alpena Lumber Co. is situated at the mouth of the river.

This company has a clapboard machine in a building close by the saw mill.

The mill is supplied with one circular, one gang, and the necessary edgers and slab saws, which are capable of cutting 70,000 of lumber per day.

There is one lath machine attached to the mill, which is capable of cutting about twenty thousand lath per day.

Amount of logs on hand, this spring, was 11,000,000 feet.

Amount cut last year, 7,000,000. Number of men employed is 63.

The clapboard machine cut, last year, 300,000 clapboards.

Attached to the clapboard mill is the shingle mill of E White, containing one double cutter and one single cutter shingle machine, which are capable of cutting from 85,000 to 100,000 shingles per day, and employing 25 persons.

This mill, last year, under the charge of J. Van Dusen, cut 10,500,000 shingles.

Across the river from the Alpena Lumber Co., stands the mill of F. W. Gilchrist, containing 1 gang, 1 circular, edgers, slab saws and lath machine.

This mill has a cutting capacity of 9,000,000 feet per year.

Number of men employed, 50.

Full stock of logs on hand.

Further up the river is the grist mill and sash, door and planing mill of Bingham, Johnston & Co., containing a complete set of machinery for making flour and for manufacturing sash, doors, planing, moulding and fancy wood work.

Folkerta & Butterfield's mill is still further up the river, just above the bridge.

The mill contains 1 circular, 1 gang, 1 mulay, the requisite slab saws and edgers, and 1 lath machine.

The mill has a cutting capacity of 7,000,000 feet of lumber per year. Number of men employed - 51.

The next mill is that of A. F. Fletcher & Co., and contains 1 circular, 1 gang, and 1 lath mill.

The mill is capable of cutting 70,000 feet of lumber and 17,000 lath per day.

Number of men employed, 40.

A little further up the river is Gillett & Go's shingle mill, which is not in operation this year.

Richardson, Avery & Co's water mill is the last on the north side of the river.

It contains 1 circular, 1 gang, 1 mulay, edgers, slab saws, and lath machine and has a cutting capacity of 9,000,000 feet per year.

About 40 men are employed.

Across the river, and on the other side of the dam, is the water mill of Hopper & Davis, containing 1 double and 1 single cutting shingle machines, and capable of producing 95,000 shingles per day.

Number of men employed, 21.

Continuing our course down the river, we come to Minor & Co's shingle mill, containing one double cutter and one single cutter shingle machines, and capable of manufacturing 90,000 shingles per day.

Number of persons employed, 25.

This mill is run this year by Morris Godfrey.

Not far from Minor's shingle mill is the Island mill, owned by J. S. Minor.

This mill is situated on an island, and contains a circular, edger, etc., and is principally employed in sawing timber and bill stuff.

About 30 men are employed about the mill.

The next mill is that of Bewick, Comstock & Co., containing 1 circular, 1 gang, edgers, slab saws, 1 lath machine, and a picket machine.

The mill has a cutting- capacity of 60,000 feet of lumber, and 20,000 lath per day.

Number of men employed, 38.

A little further down the river is the saw mill of Billiard, Churchill & Co., which is supplied with 2 circulars, one gang, 1 mulay, edgers, etc.

The mill is capable of sawing 10,000,000 feet per year.

Close by Hilliard, Churchill & Co's mill, is that of Mason, Luce & Co., which contains 2 circulars, 1 lath machine, edgers, etc., and is capable of cutting 7,000,000 feet per year.

About 30 men are employed about the mill.

The last mill on our river list is the shingle mill of Bewick, Comstock & Co.

It is supplied with 1 double cutter and 1 single cutter shingle machines, which are capable of cutting 100,000 shingles per day. Number of men employed, 21.

The saw mill of Campbell, Potter & Co. is situated at Campbellville, about one mile from the bay.

The mill contains 1 circular, 1 gang, 1 mulay, and one lath machine, which are capable of cutting 70,000 feet of lumber, and 17,000 lath per day.

Number of men employed, 40.

The lumber is conveyed to the Co's dock on Thunder Bay, by means of a railroad one mile long.

The shingle mill close to Campbell, Potter & Co's mill is not in operation this year.

The sash and door factory, and planing and moulding mill of Gebhardt & Co. is situated on Sable Street between Third and Fourth Streets, and is fitted with every appliance for making doors, sash, blinds, brackets, etc., and for moulding and making fancy wood work.

Hopper & Speechly have a saw mill on the river, in Long Rapids Township, about seventeen miles from town.

A grist mill will be attached to the saw mill before long.

The mill is run by water power, and is surrounded by a first class farming country.

The average cut of each of the city mills is about 50,000 feet per day.

A few of the mills are in operation night and day.

Geo. F. Lewis during his visit to Alpena, this spring, obtained the following statistics, regarding the supply of old and new logs.


Campbell, Potter & Co., 6,000,000

Richardson, Avery & Co., 7,000,000

J. 8. Minor, 2,500,000

A. F. Fletcher & Co., 6,500,000

Bewick, Comstock & Co., 7,000,000

Hilliard, Churchill & Co., 5,500,000

Mason, Luce & Co., 7,000,000

Folkerts & Butterfleld., 7,000,000

Alpena Lumber Company, 5,000,000

F. W. Gilchrist, 7,500,000

Shingle Mills, 2,000,000

Old stock, feet, 18,000,000

Total of 81,000,000

The above estimate is the amount that was on hand in the spring, and is a very fair estimate.

All the mill owners report sufficient logs on hand for the present season, but no over surplus.


Very little regular farming was done in Alpena, prior to the year 1866, although some attempts had seen made by various parties.

Farming was generally discouraged, no one believing that it would be profitable, and those who did make the attempt were ridiculed considerably.

Sometimes reports would be circulated about vegetables, etc., being raised, but were generally received with incredulity.

In all communities there are some individuals who differ from the multitude, and such was the case with Alpena, for a few individuals who thought farming in this county would pay, and being desirous of finding a home for themselves and families, determined to try it; so they located homesteads, cleared a small patch of ground, and the result proved that their judgment regarding the excellent producing qualities of the farming lands was in every particular correct.

The first pioneers were soon followed by others and before many years had passed, the county was dotted with the clearings and shanties of the settlers.

As the years rolled by, the clearings became enlarged; buildings were put up; fences erected; and to-day," numbers who started with nothing but an ax and a month or two's provisions, now possess good, comfortable houses, where, with reasonable exertions, they can obtain a sure independence.

This desirable condition has been brought about by unceasing toil, and persevering energy and self-denial.

Life in the wild woods has been no romantic dream, but a life divested of almost every poetical sentiment.

It was a life of hard work, chopping, clearing, logging and planting, and this, amidst swarms of mosquitoes and black flies, with scant supplies, and oft times with no covering but a brush tent.

It was a heroic life, full of unconquerable energy, with no one to witness or applaud, but the pioneer knew he was working for an independence, and what will nerve a true man more than the hope of obtaining a home for his wife and family, and a place where he may spend his last years in peace and plenty.

When a person has determined to take up a piece of land under the homestead laws of Michigan, his first plan is, generally, to obtain the services of some land hunter, who for a small money consideration shows him the desirable vacant lands, and if the intending settler is satisfied with the location and qualities of the land shown him, he gets from the land hunter a description of it, or as the written description is called, "the minutes."

The charge for this will be about ten dollars.

The settler next proceeds to enter the land under the homestead laws, which will cost him five dollars more, and entitles him to eighty acres of State land.

To homestead government land will cost a few dollars more.

At the end of three months he is obliged to make a sworn affidavit to the proper parties that he has taken actual possession, and state what improvements he has made on his homestead.

At the end of five years he applies for a deed of his homestead, making affidavit to the fact that he has made the improvements required by law.

The State officers then forwards the settler a deed of his homestead.

As soon as a person has entered a piece of land, his first efforts are turned toward clearing the same, and thus making a home for himself and family.

As a general rule homesteaders are people without means, for people of wealth are not likely to undergo the hardships and privations common to clearing wild lands, preferring to purchase a farm already cleared, so the settler has many disadvantages to work against before his new farm will provide him with a living.

He has the woods to cut down and burn up; he has houses, barns and fences to build, and at the same time, he has to support himself and family - his only capital being his muscle and indomitable will.

The consequence is that the new settler cannot put all his efforts to clearing his land, being only able to work upon it when he has laid up a few months provisions, and when these provisions are used up he is compelled by necessity to leave his farm work and go at something else until he has got another supply of provisions.

There is no road to his place, and the only way he can get to it is by a blazed line, which he has chopped to act as a guide.

When he first starts out, he is obliged to carry all his necessaries upon his back, and thus transport them to the scene of his labor.

This load will consist of an axe, a pot to cook his provisions in, a small quantity of provisions, a blanket or two, and sometimes a gun to shoot game with or to defend himself from wild animals.

When he arrives at his place, he picks out the most desirable part that suits him, and proceeds to make a brush tent, to sleep in during the night.

The work before him is to cut down the trees, cut them into log lengths, chop off the branches and pile them.

This work will take up all his spare time, until he has cut as much as he thinks he can clear for the season.

The brush tent answers admirably as long as the season is dry, but a wet day teaches him the necessity of having a more substantial shelter, so he will be obliged to leave his work of clearing and build a small log hut, covered either with troughs or cedar bark.

The first season the settler will probably be able to cut down an acre or two of the forest, leaving it until the next season to dry, so that it will burn more readily; and when this is logged and burned, he has a small patch ready to plant with potatoes.

Thus the work goes on with unflagging energy, until at last the settler moves his family on to his homestead and becomes a regular settler.

It takes several long years before the wilderness is converted into a valuable farm, and the settler will many a time see the "gaunt wolf of starvation" staring him in the face, and the bottom of the flour barrel will often look reproachfully at him.

But year by year comforts begin to gather around the settler and his family; first a garden is planted; fresh vegetables adorn his table; fowls cackle about his door; his cellars or root-houses begin to be filled with potatoes, turnips, etc., and he has some to spare.

A cow is then added to his stock; his barn begins to be filled with hay and grain; he becomes the possessor of a horse or two, and at last, after a few years of heroic self-denial and toil, he sees his dreams fulfilled; he has earned a home for himself and family; he has attained an independence by his own hands; he has obeyed the Divine mandate "to earn his living by the sweat of his brow," and now, when the work has been done, and the hardships, sufferings, toils, and privations lie in the past, regrets not the struggles he has gone through in attaining it.

But while the settler has been acting the hero, his wife has not been idle; she has suffered when he suffered; rejoiced when he rejoiced, and encouraged him when he was disheartened.

Nobly has she allied his efforts, and the victory is due as much to her as to himself.

What better recommendation could we give of this county and the advantages it offers to settlers, when we can point out hundreds of persons, who commencing with no capital, or skill in farming, have, in a few years, made for themselves and their families good comfortable homes; and the same can be done by any other energetic person, who is willing to apply himself vigorously to the work of clearing and improving the wild lands, and ten years of unceasing industry will give him a sure independence, and make him the possessor of a piece of property worth many hundreds of dollars.

It needs only application and labor, and the reward is sure.

In 1866, Greeley & Erskine made a commencement at farming, in that part of the country known as the Greeley settlement.

The parties had 208 acres of land, and cleared up 130 acres.

The place is now owned by Harrington & Emerson.

Mr. Chas. B. Greeley reports selling the first $500 worth of farm produce that was raised in this county.

The same year Mr. James A. Case made a commencement on a piece of land on the North Branch, and says that on the night of his arrival, he argued the question, mentally, as to whether he should proceed with his work or not.

It did not appear probable that there would be any settlers who would be apt to come there and settle.

However, Mr. Case decided to make a commencement, and today, settlers may be found many miles further out in the wilderness, and more going.

Another settler who commenced farming in 1866, was Mr. Richard Naylor, whose place is located about three miles from the city.

Mr. Naylor has remained on his place up to the present, and he has made valuable improvements on it.

In 1867, James Dempster, Wm. Pulford, David Dunn, and the writer of this sketch, settled in the eastern part of Alpena Township.

About the same time, and the few years following, numerous persons settled in various parts of the county, and farming began to assume a little more than an experiment.

It began to be a success.

In 1871, the region about Long Lake began to be settled, and many of the farmers in that part of the county have as much as thirty acres of land under crop.

The timber in that part of the country consists principally of maple; the soil is good, and the location unequaled.

More land about Long Lake would have been settled upon and cleared, if non-residents had not got possession of large tracts of it.

By this time the Burnt Land Settlement had started, and now forms the leading agricultural district in the county.

Farming implements now began to be shipped to Alpena, but so little was known of farming in this county, that a Bay City paper, on the occasion of a shipment of a large number of fanning mills to Alpena, began to poke fun at the farmers of this section, inquiring if they were going to separate the sawdust from the sand.

The ignorance of the Bay City itemizer may be overlooked, when we consider that the same lot of fanning mills was the cause of much wonder to the city people, for it is a well-known fact that the people of Alpena city knew very little about the progress that was going on among the farmers, being altogether occupied by lumber and the business connected with it.

Reports had been circulated from time to time about what was going on, but very few believed them.

The time came at last when the most doubtful among the disbelievers were forced to confess that farming was a successful pursuit.

The honor of establishing this fact belongs to Mr. Geo. F. Lewis, editor of the Saginawian, Saginaw City, who, during the summer of 1875, made a short tour among some of the settlements.

Mr. Lewis wrote to his paper the following account of what he saw:

Surely, says the Bay City man, who can account for the recent shipment of fanning mills to Alpena only upon the supposition that they are to be used for "separating sand from sawdust," there must be some sell in any communication that follows so absurd a caption, and the average citizen of any portion of Michigan, the city of Alpena included, has as little practical knowledge of the recent astonishing agricultural developments in Alpena county, as had the author of this sand and sawdust item of the construction and legitimate purpose of a fanning mill, whenever operated.

The enterprise which has given to the city of Alpena its prominent position as a manufacturing and commercial place, has been active for many years in making farms at points convenient to the city or to the lumber camps in the forests beyond.

In nearly every instance these have proved successful and renumerative, nature thus aiding the tough job of cleaning many of the tracts which have been brought under cultivation, and the difficulty, especially near Alpena, is getting rid of the interminable topdressing of scaly limestone which is over all the earth in fragments from a square inch to a foot in size.

About two miles from the Fletcher House, on the Long Lake road, there is now standing on the lime-rock farm of Mr. Phelps a ten-acre field of as promising wheat as can be found in Michigan—fence high, stout, thick, long-headed - as was not that Bay City fanning-mill itemizer.

Yet after it was sowed last fall you could "scarcely see the land for the stones."

Morse, Minor, Richardson, Campbell, Potter & Co., and many other prominent lumbermen have creditable improvements near town, and the feeling among the "solid men" is earnest and in favor of encouraging agricultural development both by precept and example.

But those fanning mills, they have gone to where there is a development of the farming Interest, made within the past three years, which seems incredible.


Fourteen miles in a direct course from Alpena, eighteen miles by the road, in town 32 north of range 6 east are located most of the farms I visited, bat in several towns adjoining this are large tracts of what are: known as "burnt lands."

Why they are so called and why they have proved such a providential interposition in favor of Alpena is thus explained, which explanation is best introduced with the original remark that the face of all these lands is clay, the surface soil being light or dark loom, according to the situation and the previous growth of timber.

Formerly this land was heavily timbered, the best of it with beach and maple, and an occasional cork pine; the lighter qualities with hemlock, some beach and maple, and pine in groves.

Fires killed the timber many years ago, afterwards this was blown down, and still later it was burned up, root and branch, as clean in many instances as that which formerly stood upon the cleanest pine plains in any portion of the State.

Before any investigation had been made as to the character of the soil on these lands, a dense undergrowth of poplar, birch, basswood and other small timber covered the entire surface of the country, and notwithstanding the land has mainly proved so valuable, as the outset appearances were against it, and those who made the first break into this unkempt bramble, were called fools by all the very wisest men in the Alpena region, except Hon. J. K. Lockwood, who holds so sublime a faith concerning that quarter of Michigan, that he can see therein reasonable hope for the development of every industry and enterprise under Heaven, gold and copper mining not excepted.

And, by the way, his faith has been the means of developing many incidental resources that have added materially to the business and prosperity of that whole section.

Some years ago the first improvements were commenced, but little bad been accomplished up to 1871-3, when the success of the first farmers began to be understood by a few outside, and then there was rapid settlement and civilization in all quarters of the burnt lands.

Three years ago Mr. Thwaits, the only man as yet who has nothing to do with lumbering, winter or summer, but makes farming his sole business.

Of 883 acres he has 100 under cultivation, and his crops this year will be worth at least $3,000.

On the place he has a mowing machine, threshing machine, sulky rake, hay lifter, fanning mill and all the smaller agricultural implements.

His fall wheat is near five feet high and as thick as it can stand.

Spring wheat four feet high and well headed.

Clover, small kind, four feet high, bright and compact.

Timothy, equal to the best raised in any country; and of roots and garden crops a showing that would compare favorably with the beat raised in Saginaw Valley.

He has three barns, a commodious two-story house, excellent water from both well and brook, and his crops average to the the acre thus: Fall wheat 40 bushels; spring wheat 25 bushels; potatoes 175 bushels ; hay one and a-half tons.

There are within sight of his, twenty farms with clearings on each side of from twenty to one hundred acres, and on all, good crops are as good as on any equal area in Michigan.

There are few fences, as the farmers dare not build until sufficient clearing has been made to render them safe from fires in the forests and burnings.

No cattle are allowed to run at large, and in fact there are but few cattle In the vicinity, as It has been a hand-to-mouth struggle with most of the settlers, and standing upon one of the ridges, one can look for two miles to the east, a mile or more to the west, and sec all this expanse that three years ago was an underbrush bramble covered with waving grain, with broad belts of clover in full bloom, with patches of potatoes—enough, one would think to feed a commonwealth—with gardens, dwellings, barns and all the appointments and apurtances of an old settled farming community.

I could give yon names and details until you could not rest, but have here mentioned one individual because he is more exclusively a farmer, as all others hope to be soon.

Land is cleared and sowed to fall wheat the first year, the second year it is ready, if so desired, for the mower and reaper or any other modern farm machinery that requires horse power, and all this is within two-and-a-half hours drive from Alpena.

Let those of Bay City who travel for business or pleasure up the shore, especially him of the fanning mill item, go out and look at this New Michigan, this repetition - without the wearing labor of clearing off the monstrous growth of forest, and with the added advantage of a market doubly remunerative at their doors—of the ancient glories of "Old Macomb" and the other wheat producing counties of early days.

It will do them good, and perhaps strengthen their faith in the soundness and solidity of the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula.

In a subsequent letter, Mr. Lewis gave many particulars concerning the progress of farming in this county, giving the location, amount of improvements, etc., of numerous "Burnt Land" farmers.

The statistics would have been given if it had been necessary, and many pages more of farming items added besides, describing the improvements of farmers, who have thirty acres of land and upwards under cultivation, but the facts are now admitted by the most incredulous, and farming has been proved a successful pursuit beyond all doubt.

From Mr. Lewis' letter we reprint the following, as it describes parts of the county not previously mentioned in this pamphlet:

Sylvester & Flanders have, upon sections 28, 29, and 30 of town 31 north of range 6 east, 320 acres Improved; of which 150 acres have been in crops for three years.

They have 60 acres in grass, 60 acres in oats, 8 acres in barley, 55 acres potatoes, and the balance in other crops, all looking well.

The buildings, substantially built, sided and painted, consist of a dwelling house 24x32 feet, barn 60x74 feet, wood shed and wagon house 18x96 feet.

This is in what is called the Greeley settlement, Wilson Township, where there are twenty other farms averaging 30 acres improvement each, and all yielding good crops as far as cultivated.

Near this is the King settlement, in town 31, north of range 8 east; and town 31, north of range 7 east.

In the latter town the aggregate of acres improved being not far from one thousand.

All through this region is excellent water in running streams, springs and never-falling wells, sunk from 10 to 25 feet.

The towns both of burnt and timbered lands whereon farm improvements have been and are being most rapidly made are town 31, north of range 4 east; 31—5; 81—0 and 81—7 towns 82 north of ranges 4, 5 and 6 east.

Brush Creek settlement is located in 31—4, 32—4, 31—5, and 32—5, is another burnt land district; greater in extent and is settling up faster even then the district which we visited and shall shortly mention more in detail; a State road is being made six miles to connect with the Alpena road.

There are within the borders of the settlement Brush lake containing 240 acres; Long lake containing two sections, and Clear lake one section; all supplied with clear, cold spring water and all abundantly with fish.

There are also many springs and brooks with an ample supply of water for wells not in any case over 25 feet beneath the surface of the land.

The land in all this region is rolling; timber standing chiefly beech and maple, and the facilities for drainage as soon as the country is cleared will be all that are required for first-class agricultural development.

The seasons are shorter than ours somewhat, but not too short for the successful growing of wheat, barley, oats, etc. and all kinds of root cops, and corn may be raised if pains is taken to get that which matures early.

No delicate varieties of fruit will withstand the temperature, as many experimenters have found to their cost, but the hardier varieties of apples do well, and small fruits, berries, etc., flourish admirably.

The climate is that of the lake region, the air clear, fresh and bracing; and as snow falls early in the winter and remains on the ground until late in the spring, the general conditions are excellent for the production of wheat, of which this is the coming granary of Michigan.

There has been only one complete census of farming taken, up to the present time, and a few of the statistics can be found previously in this work.

It is almost needless to state that many valuable improvements have been made since the census was taken, and the time is not far distant when the farmers of Alpena County will raise all the grain, hay and root crops needed by our citizens and lumbermen, besides having a large surplus to ship to other ports.

The success of Alpena in the future depends considerably upon the development of farming in the county, and the sooner all the lands are settled the better it will be for the city property holders.

The country back of Alpena city is rich, fertile and extensive) it is destined to be the home of many thousands of happy settlers, and the vast amount of produce raised must find its way to Alpena city, as it is the most convenient shipping point.

Experience has proved that Alpena is a first class wheat growing country.

There is very little danger of the wheat being winter killed, as during the winter the ground is covered with a protecting sheet of snow.

We only know of one winter in which this has not been the rule.

The yield of wheat frequently amounts to forty bushels per acre, and as a wheat growing county, Alpena, according to the State census of 1874, ranks fifth among the counties of Michigan.

The yield of oats and other grain crops is equally as good, and better crops of grass cannot be found in any portion of the State.

Apples have been successfully raised in the county, and at present there is a large number of fruit trees growing in various parts of the county, many of which are just beginning to bear.

Grapes, black and red currants, gooseberries, strawberries, huckleberries, cranberries, and the various kinds of raspberries, grow wild, and can be obtained in large quantities.

Water is abundant and of good quality; the climate is very exhilarating and healthy, and wood and lumber can be obtained at little cost.

Before many years have passed, a railroad will be built between the city and Otsego, and it will be the means of opening up a large and valuable tract of farming land.

Communication between the city and the various farming settlements is maintained by means of several very fair roads, and these are yearly being extended and improved.

The main roads, as a general rule, have been laid out on stony or sandy ridges—the object being to locate them where they could be built the cheapest, and thus the best lands, adjacent to the city, are not found close to the roads.

Up to the present no attempts have been made by the farmers towards advertising their business by getting up agricultural fairs and thus showing what they can do as regards agricultural products, but this neglect it is to be hoped will be remedied before long.


The mouth of Thunder Bay River is situated, geographically, in latitude 45 degrees, 3 minutes, and 38.90 seconds, and in longitude 83 degrees, 25 minutes, and 32.63 seconds.

Lake Huron is the third in size of the great fresh water lakes.

It is 250 miles long, 120 miles wide, 800 feet deep, 576 feet above the level of the sea, and it occupies an area of 20,500 square miles.

The first wool raised in the county is claimed by Win. Lumsden.

The wool was clipped in 1875, and the same was made into yarn by Mrs. Lumsden.

The first marriage ceremony in the county was performed by D. D. Oliver.

The same salt rock occurs at Alpena as at Goderich.

Mrs. Francis claims the honor of occupying the first house on the north side of the river, and states that when the Myers' block was being raised in 1858, considerable difficulty was experienced in getting the frame up, on account of the scarcity of men in the place.

However, by the aid of some sailors the frame was put up, but just as the last bent was being put into place, it slipped and knocked down all the rest of the frame.


This district is formed of the counties of Montcalm, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw, Bay, Gladwin, Clare, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Oscoda, Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, and Emmet.

The total vote of the district in 1874, was 20,272.


This district is composed of the counties of Bay, Iosco, Ogemaw, Alcona, Oscoda, Alpena, Montmorency, and Presque Isle.


The Alpena Representative District is formed of the counties of Alpena, Alcona, Presque Isle, Oscoda, and Otsego.